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SDPD cop killer granted parole

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At left is a recent photo of Jesus Cecena, who as a 17-year-old gang member killed San Diego Police Officer Archie Buggs, right, on Nov. 4, 1978. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; San Diego Police Department)

SAN DIEGO — A man who was 17 when he killed a San Diego police officer in 1978 was granted parole Thursday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Officer Archie Buggs, 30, was shot four times after he stopped a car driven by Jesus Cecena, a gang member in the Skyline neighborhood. Cecena fired five times at Buggs, then paused, walked toward the fallen officer and fired a final bullet into his head at point-blank range. Buggs died on the street, his hand still on his service revolver.

By law, there are now 120 days for an administrative review of the grant to take place. The decision would then go to Governor Jerry Brown, who can uphold, reverse or modify the grant.

“This cold-blooded execution of an on-duty police officer devastated the officer’s family, his department and our community,” said San Diego County Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan, who attended the parole hearing with Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs.

“This crime was callous and inexplicably senseless. It demonstrated a total disregard for human life and disdain for those in a position of authority,” Stephan said.

Cecena was convicted of murder and sentenced in 1979 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Since Cecena was a teenager at the time of the murder, his sentence was reduced to seven years to life in 1982.

A change in the law in 2014 made Cecena eligible to receive Youthful Offender Consideration at his parole hearings.

He was twice granted parole in 2014 and 2015, but each time Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the grant after the district attorney’s objection.