Rodney Patrick McNeal was set to be released on parole after being pardoned. California Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the parole board’s decision, keeping Mr. McNeal in prison.

Nearly 24 years ago, Debra Blackcrow McNeal and her unborn child were brutally stabbed and murdered by Mr. McNeal in Highland, California. Mr. McNeal was initially sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison for the murders but his sentence had been commuted by Mr. McNeal in the early part of 2020, which made him eligible for parole.

Mr. McNeal was granted parole on November 13, 2020. On January 29, 2020, thanks to the efforts of Deborah’s daughter, Shantel Haynes, District Attorney Jason Anderson, the community, and the media, Governor Newsom reversed the decision to grant Mr. McNeal parole.

“While I commend Mr. McNeal for his positive rehabilitative efforts, I find that he is unsuitable for parole at this time. Before Ms. BlackCrow McNeal’s murder, Mr. McNeal’s relationships with his partners were marked by a violent pattern of coercive control and abuse. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department responded to complaints of violence at the home numerous times….I agree that Mr. McNeal has not yet sufficiently mitigated his risk for domestic violence.” 

To read more about this case and Governor Newsom’s initial decision, click here

Read/Download Governor Newsom’s Reversal here.