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Tulare County Murderer Will Spend at Least 5 More Years in Prison



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Even though California has softened parole eligibility, convicted Tulare County killer Benigno Melendres Sanchez wasn’t released from Kern Valley State Prison on Thursday.

Instead, Sanchez agreed with the Tulare County District Attorney’s assessment that he wasn’t suitable for parole.

And, it was stipulated that Sanchez, 45, would serve five more years before re-applying for parole.

Beat Elderly Couple to Death in Home Robbery

Sanchez was 17 when he beat an elderly couple to death in their Pixley home on Easter Sunday in 1992 and 10 days later beat a 72-year-old Pixley man unconscious.

Robbery was the motive in both cases.

Acting on tips and information discovered while investigating the crimes, Tulare County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Sanchez in June 1992.

Sentenced to Life Without Parole

Two years later, Sanchez was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, as well as other charges, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

However, state law grants parole eligibility to offenders who committed their crimes before age 18 and have served 25 years.

“In 1994, the family of these victims stood in court and were told that the person who beat their loved ones to death in their own home would never get out of prison,” Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said in a news release.

“If truth in sentencing was real, the only thing this family would have left to do is cherish the memories of those who were callously taken from them. Instead, they now have to endure the terrible details of that night’s events at parole hearing after parole hearing to plead their case that they should be afforded the justice that was promised to them in 1994.”

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email