Support for LAist comes from
True LA stories, powered by you
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)
Our reporting is free for everyone, but it’s not free to make.
LAist only exists with reader support. If you're in a position to give, your donation powers our reporters and keeps us independent.

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.