Woman convicted of 1998 San Diego murder pardoned by Newsom


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 13: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California State Capitol on March 13, 2019 in Sacramento, California. Newsom announced today a moratorium on California’s death penalty. California has 737 people on death row, the largest death row population in the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) –  A woman convicted of a 1998 San Diego murder was pardoned Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who cited deportation risks as a major factor in his decision.

Ny Nourn was convicted of first-degree murder and arson for the Dec. 23, 1998, killing of 38-year-old David Allen Stevens, her boss at a Miramar dating service. She was initially sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors alleged she lured Stevens out of his apartment, where he was shot to death by her then-boyfriend, Ronald Barker, and then burned in his car. Defense attorneys alleged she was a victim of Battered Women’s Syndrome, and forced by Barker to call Stevens outside, after Barker became enraged over discovering she had slept with her boss.

The convictions for Nourn, who was 18 at the time of Stevens’ death, were overturned on appeal and she was retried and convicted of second-degree murder in 2008, and sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.

She was paroled in 2017, according to a VICE story chronicling her conviction and subsequent release, but then was re-jailed by immigration authorities only a few months later and faced deportation to Cambodia.

Newsom’s pardon notes that Nourn, currently an activist and community advocate with the Asian Law Caucus, “has demonstrated that she is living an upright life and has demonstrated her fitness for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities. Ms. Nourn has also presented evidence that a collateral consequence of her conviction, namely, her impending deportation and permanent separation from her family and removal from her community, further justifies this exercise of executive clemency.”

In a statement posted on the organization’s website, Nourn described her relationship with Barker as “abusive,” saying she was a teenager at the time who was “trapped” in her relationship “with a much older man.”

Following time served in state prison and immigration detention, Nourn said she joined the Asian Law Caucus “as a Yuri Kochiyama fellow, a fellowship created for formerly incarcerated immigrants.”

Regarding her pardon, Nourn wrote, “I am grateful to Gov. Newsom for his pardon & I want to ask him to extend clemency to other currently and formerly incarcerated refugees, immigrants & survivors facing deportation like I was. CA can take a step in the right direction & stop the prison to ICE pipeline.”

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