'Absolutely Shocked': Prosecutor Fears for Life After Murderer to Be Granted Parole - NBC Southern California
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'Absolutely Shocked': Prosecutor Fears for Life After Murderer to Be Granted Parole

"His cellmate had come forward and had relayed that he was making plans to not only murder me, but to murder my family in front of me first, and then to shoot me," he said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Prosecutor Fears Death After Murderer's Recommended Release

    Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin says he is stunned after a California parole commissioner recommended the release of a convicted murderer who allegedly threatened to kill the prosecutor and his family upon his release from prison. Eric Leonard reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018)

    A Southern California prosecutor, who has prosecuted the likes of infamous New York real estate heir Robert Durst, said he's terrified for his life after a man he helped send to prison for the 1988 execution style murder of his estranged wife is to be granted parole.

    "I was absolutely shocked," said L.A. County Deputy District Attorney John Lewin.

    The California Department of Corrections said William T. Bradford "was granted parole suitability" last week, after a commissioner decided Bradford was not be a danger to society.

    Lewin is most well-known for his work on the murder case against Durst, who was featured in the HBO documentary , "The Jinx."

    Durst is awaiting trial in LA. He's accused of killing his one-time friend Susan Berman 18 years ago in Benedict Canyon.

    Lewin has spent decades prosecuting complicated circumstantial murder cases like it - and he says he's stunned a California parole commissioner has recommended that one of the people Lewin helped to send to prison for life should be now be released.

    Bradford was convicted in 2002 of murdering Joan Bradford Lockwood. He's now 84-years-old and has shown some signs of dementia.

    "...And just for good measure, once she was down and probably dead, he shot her two more times," Lewin said, recalling the case.

    She was killed just as the couple was finalizing their divorce, and Bradford was going to have to pay her about $40,000. Two of the couple's children found the body.

    Bradford was sentenced to 26-years-to-life, but Lewin says it's what happened after the trial that has him so worried.

    "His cellmate had come forward and had relayed that he was making plans to not only murder me, but to murder my family in front of me first, and then to shoot me," Lewin said.

    The parole commissioner's recommendation will be reviewed by Gov. Jerry Brown later this year, and Lewin says he hopes the Governor intervenes.

    "This man is still a significant danger, not just to me and my family, but anybody that he has bitter feelings toward," Lewin said.

    The Governor could reverse the recommendation or order another review. If Brown does nothing, the decision stands, and Bradford could be released early next year.

    Bradford was eligible for a parole hearing after serving about 16 years because of looser sentencing laws in effect at the time of the murder in 1988.

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