Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


A Life Sentence For A Robbery — An Inmate Hopes For Help From DA Gascón

Reginald Wheeler. (Photo courtesy of the Wheeler family; graphic by Chava Sanchez/LAist)
LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

In 1983, 20-year-old Reginald Wheeler and an accomplice forced a man to walk about 100 feet away from a South L.A. street and then robbed him of $14 and a watch.

Wheeler went to prison for his crime in 1985. Thirty-six years later, he’s still behind bars.

Because of that roughly 100-foot walk, prosecutors added a charge of aggravated kidnapping, which led to Wheeler being sentenced to 8 years to life in prison.

He’s been turned down for parole 13 times because of a number of rules violations, although they were all for non-violent offenses like sneaking in marijuana or a cell phone, or being overly familiar with prison staff.

Support for LAist comes from

Now Wheeler hopes his original sentence will be reduced — and he’ll be released — under a policy implemented by L.A. District Attorney George Gascón.

As part of his push to do away with “tough on crime” policies, the DA plans to give thousands of old cases a second look to determine if the original sentence was too harsh and should be retroactively reduced.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.