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On 20th Try, 87-Year-Old Tulare County Killer Approved for Parole
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 3 weeks ago on
June 26, 2024

Henry Valles Borbon, 87, served more than 45 years of his life sentence for participating in a 1975 double murder on Yokohl Drive near Exeter before winning his release Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (GV Wire Composite)

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On his 20th appearance before the parole board, an 87-year-old former Tulare County anti-poverty director convicted in a 1975 double murder, was approved for release on Tuesday.

Henry Valles Borbon, who is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Facility in Corcoran, won his freedom over the objections of the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office.

Borbon has served more than 45 years of his life sentence despite many years of appeals to overturn the conviction and engaging in headline-making courtroom maneuvers at trial.

In fact, Borbon’s original conviction was overturned, leading to a second trial and another conviction.

Testimony: Borbon Was Paid $1,000 to Assist in Murders

According to court records, on the afternoon of Feb. 28, 1975, Borbon and co-defendant Joe Perez murdered Richard Gaither and Rosie Sanchez on Yokohl Drive near Exeter.

The men drove their victims there in Perez’s car under the guise of a drug transaction, according to witness testimony. Borbon shot Gaither twice in the back of the head while Perez bludgeoned Sanchez, the mother of his children, with a hammer. When it was apparent that the blows were not fatal, Borbon stabbed Sanchez to death.

Her body was discovered days later floating in the Kings River near Stratford.

At trial, witnesses revealed that Perez — angered by Sanchez’s romantic relationship with Gaither — paid Borbon $1,000 to assist him with the murders.

In November 1978, a Tulare County jury convicted Borbon of two counts of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Co-defendant Perez was convicted of first-degree murder in Kern County and sentenced to death in 1976. Perez’s sentence later was commuted to life in prison.

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
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

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