CALIFORNIA CITY: EPISODE 5The Tragedy That Occurred
Ken Donney is a hero to some, but most people would call him a villain.
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The Santa Cruz County Sentinel, Oct. 28, 1995.Ken Donney, arrestedThe front page of The Santa Cruz Sentinel the day after Kenneth Donney was arrested for killing his wife, Nina Leibman. The couple was in the process of getting divorced. Ken, the former Federal Trade Commission attorney who prosecuted Great Western Cities, was now behind bars.
The Santa Cruz County Sentinel, July 18, 1996Ken Donney, sentencedOn July 18, 1996, The Santa Cruz County Sentinel reported Ken Donney was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Earlier, he pled guilty to second degree murder.
Governor Newsom reverses Ken Donney’s paroleThe California Board of Parole Hearings granted Ken Donney parole on May 8, 2019. However, in California, the governor may overrule the parole of anyone in prison on a life sentence. And on August 16, 2019, that’s exactly what Governor Gavin Newsom did. Ken is appealing the decision.
Ken’s word choiceIn his parole hearings, and on the phone with Emily Guerin, Ken Donney frequently referred to the murder as “what happened,” a “failure,” or, in this transcript from his 2011, “this tragedy” that occurred.
People present at Ken’s 2019 parole hearingThe cover sheet for Ken Donney’s most recent parole hearing, where he was granted parole.
Emily GuerinKen Donney and Emily Guerin, at the California Health Care Facility, Stockton, July 21, 2019.Ken asked Emily to purchase two photo tokens, so they could each have a copy of this picture.