19-year prison sentence is too long? Letters respond to article

Christopher Maynard Jr. was one of four teenagers who kidnapped and killed Patrick Santos in Alhambra, California, in 1994. Eight years later, Maynard admitted guilt in the teen’s slaying and was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence in prison.

On Wednesday, former state Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez testified for a motion to release Maynard on parole after he had been living in a halfway house and attending classes on suicide prevention for five years. Rodriguez says Maynard is worthy of parole because the tape that binds his hands and ankles and covers his mouth doesn’t fit the description of the mask used by his killers, while his crimes of killing two other victims and spraying fatal bullets in the face and stomach of one victim fits the definition of “murder.”

“I’m sitting here praying that, at the end of the day, he would not be released,” Rodriguez said of Maynard. “I pray every single day that this parole board will not make the decision.”

In an exclusive CNN interview, Maynard agreed that he felt the tape inside his mouth was not accurate, but said he was trying to play along with the other three killers because they wanted him to kill Santos. He said they bound his hands and feet and threatened him with a pistol because he was resisting. “There was no mask. I was wearing just a robe,” he said.

He said he realized how misleading the tape was when he saw the mask, which had a mask underneath, a few days later. He said it left the “big question on my mind, what do you do when you look at your own body. Do you conceal, do you look at yourself?” he said. “I said I was trapped, that’s what I had to do.”

Maynard said he “means well” but admitted that he was dumb for giving the other three defendants green light to kill Santos, despite saying that he didn’t want to.

“I make mistakes and I take responsibility for it,” he said. “What I’m asking for is another opportunity, just like other people have.”

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