A man convicted of masterminding a robbery that led to the 1988 slaying of an Inglewood police sergeant is set to be released from prison despite the pleas of the slain officer’s family and law enforcement leaders.
Joevone Elster, who was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery in the shooting death of Inglewood Sgt. George Aguilar, will be released from state prison next week, Luis Patino, a spokesman for the state department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, said in remarks reported by the Los Angeles Times.
It was not immediately clear, however, whether Elster would instantly become a free man. Patino said Elster would be released into the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A sheriff’s department spokeswoman said he is wanted on a forgery warrant but could not offer additional details Thursday night, The Times reported.
Elster did not fire the shot that felled Aguilar. The sergeant was killed during a car chase that followed a gas station robbery plotted by Elster to gain revenge against a former employer, The Times reported. He was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison in 1989.
A parole board deemed Elster suitable for release in April of 2016, but Gov. Jerry Brown reversed that decision months later. Elster appealed, and a Los Angeles County judge overturned Brown’s decision in March 2017.
News of Elster’s pending release was met with shock by Aguilar’s son, who was 24 when his father was killed.
“We were devastated. We were speechless. We were scared. We were just completely shocked. Even if this were going to happen, I figured they might call and tell us it was three months down the road, not three days,” George Aguilar Jr., 53, who learned of Elster’s pending release earlier this week, told The Times. “My sister and my wife were actually fearing for their safety because we have fought to keep this man in prison.”
—City News Service