``Onion Field'' Killer Denied Parole - NBC Southern California

``Onion Field'' Killer Denied Parole



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    California Corrections
    Recent California Department of Corrections photo of "Onion Field" Killer Gregory Powell.

    ``Onion Field'' killer Gregory Powell, who was convicted of murdering a Los Angeles police officer south of Bakersfield in

    1963 after abducting him and his partner, was denied parole Wednesday.   
    Powell, 76, will not be eligible for another parole hearing for three years. Powell has repeatedly been denied parole.
    The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the LAPD's rank-and-file, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's opposed parole for Powell.
    Powell was convicted of murdering 31-year-old LAPD Officer Ian Campbell in a crime detailed in former LAPD Officer Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling book, ``The Onion Field,'' which was later made into a movie.
    Campbell and partner Karl Hettinger were abducted at gunpoint by Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith on March 9, 1963, while the two officers were patrolling in Hollywood. The officers were driven to an isolated onion field, where Powell shot Campbell to death.
    Hettinger was shot at as he fled the onion field, but managed to escape in the darkness.
    The original convictions of Powell and Smith were reversed on appeal and they were retried and convicted again. Powell was initially sentenced to death, but that sentence was reduced to life in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that California's death penalty law at the time was unconstitutional.
    Smith, released from prison in 1982, was in and out of custody several times before dying at a Los Angeles County jail facility in April 2007.