A man convicted of masterminding a robbery that led to the 1988 killing of an Inglewood Police sergeant was out free Thursday despite the opposition of the victim’s family and prosecutors.
Joevone Elster, 51, was granted parole last year, despite objections from law enforcement agencies and the family of police Sgt. George Aguilar, who was 46 when he was killed.
Elster was released from prison last week and placed in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department due to a lingering warrant for a probation violation in an old misdemeanor case.
Elster appeared in court in Long Beach Wednesday for a hearing on the matter. A judge found that Elster violated his probation and sentenced him to 364 days in jail, but the judge deemed that Elster had already served that amount of time. He was released from custody shortly after noon Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s department.
Elster did not fire the shot that killed 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. He was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison in 1989.
A parole board deemed Elster suitable for release in April 2016, but Gov. Jerry Brown overturned the decision. Elster appealed, and a Los Angeles County judge overturned Brown’s decision in March, clearing the way for Elster’s release. Brown opted not to appeal the case further.
Aguilar, a 16-year department veteran, was the first Inglewood officer killed in the line of duty.
“I’m speechless,” Aguilar’s son, George Aguilar Jr., told KNX Newsradio. “I can’t believe this is actually happening. I mean, a cop killer being released. It just makes no sense to me.”
—City News Service