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Governor revokes parole of convicted child killer
Monday, August 18, 2008
By Staff Reporter
After being imprisoned for 26 years, convicted child killer Gina Sargent had her parole date reversed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week.
In November 1980, Sargent, then 22, pushed her 5-year-old stepdaughter Ilana down a flight of stairs in Pioneer, causing injuries that ultimately killed her. Initially, Sargent claimed Ilana had fallen, but after investigations and an autopsy, it was discovered that Ilana had been a victim of sustained child abuse. Sargent was arrested in 1981 and convicted of second degree murder and endangering the life of a child. Her sentence was 15 years to life.
According to the Indeterminate Sentence Parole Release Review, Sargent acquired her GED and took college courses while in prison, along with vocational training courses. She has also retained close ties with family and friends and made arrangements to live at a transitional facility in Los Angeles . Despite the positive factors, Schwarzenegger said in the ISPRR his decision was swayed by Sargent's crime being "especially atrocious." He said her "release from prison would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society at this time." One factor was a statement from the emergency room physician who treated Ilana and said he believed she could have been saved had Sargent contacted authorities immediately instead of waiting more than three hours after the fall. Sargent now admits to abusing Ilana daily over a six-month period that the child lived with her, even though members of the family attempted to intervene. A state parole board recommended release in 2007, which the Amador County District Attorney's Office protested. In his letter, Schwarzenegger said that was another factor that went into his decision.
"At age 50 now, after being incarcerated for approximately 26 years, Gina Sargent made some credible gains in prison," Schwarzenegger's letter said. "But given the current record before me, and after carefully considering the same factors the board must consider, I find the gravity of the murder committed, along with previous record of violence by Sargent, presently outweigh the positive factors."