Monday, 15 July 2024

Parole board turns down Elwood release

LAKE COUNTY – A man convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder 30 years ago has been denied parole.


The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole for convicted attempted murderer and kidnapper William Clark Elwood on Dec. 9, according to District Attorney Jon Hopkins.


Hopkins said Elwood is serving a life sentence for a kidnapping for robbery and assault with intent to commit murder conviction in Lake County that occurred in November 1979. Elwood’s crime partner was Thomas J. Botkins.


The Life Parole Consideration Hearing was held at Corcoran State Prison where Elwood is incarcerated, Hopkins said. Elwood will not be eligible to have a subsequent parole consideration hearing for five more years.


The board denied Elwood for parole, finding that he poses an unreasonable risk of danger to society if released at this time, Hopkins reported. The commissioner and deputy commissioner based their decision on the brutality of the crime, which was carried out against a vulnerable victim with whom Elwood had a relationship of trust.


Elwood and Botkins repeatedly stabbed the victim with two pronged forks and beat him in his house and outside his house, taking his wallet and money, according to Hopkins. Then they took the victim in his own car to the Lower Lake Cemetery where they beat and stabbed him further.


After that they drove him out Morgan Valley Road about four miles and dragged him out of his car to beat him in the head with large rocks, leaving him for dead. However, Hopkins said a motorist happened by around 4 a.m. and picked the victim up and took him to the hospital.


Elwood and Botkins were arrested later that day by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Hopkins said.


He said that the victim was so badly beaten that the surgeon attempting to do reconstructive surgery asked for a photo of the victim in order to determine what he looked like before the attack.


In making its decision, the board also noted that Elwood has collected over 100 disciplinary writeups while in prison, many of them for violence, including a felony conviction for possession of a weapon in San Quentin. Elwood has had no serious disciplinary problems since 2005, for which Elwood credits his involvement in the Buddhist faith and teachings.


Hopkins represented Lake County at the Lifer Hearing. He told the board, “Mr. Elwood is not suitable for parole as he presents an unreasonable risk of danger to the public if released. His crime was extremely brutal, and committed with a crime partner where they ganged up on a vulnerable victim. It is a miracle that the victim lived after the senseless beating and being left for dead in an extremely deserted area of our county in the middle of the night.”


He also underlined Elwood’s performance in prison, which has resulted in numerous disciplinary incidents, and said Elwood is not doing enough to gain insight into his behavior to prevent future violent conduct.


In addition, Hopkins said Elwood's future plans are to get into a halfway house, and beyond that are unspecific and vague, which he said demonstrates a lack of an understanding of what he needs to do to not slip back into substance abuse and re-offend.


Hopkins also maintained that Elwood's future plans also do nothing to assure the public that he would not commit future violent acts.


“The crime Mr. Elwood committed could not have been any more cold and calloused than it was, leaving this victim with permanent physical and mental injuries,” Hopkins said this week. “The victim will never fully recover, and to protect the community from suffering future victims, I am gratified that the Board of Parole Hearings found Mr. Elwood unsuitable for parole.”


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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