San Francisco man on death row at San Quentin has sentence reduced to life

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California death row inmate had his sentence reduced to life with a chance of parole after San Francisco’s district attorney called capital punishment “undeniably cruel.”

Clifford Bolden, 65, was the last San Francisco person on death row at San Quentin State Prison. On Tuesday, a judge approved a plea deal resentencing him to 47 years to life, making him eligible for parole when he is 79, according to reports.

In return, Bolden won’t pursue further legal challenges, per reports.

Bolden was convicted of robbing and stabbing an accountant, Henry Pedersen, 46, in 1986 after meeting him in a bar. At the time, Bolden was on parole after serving prison time for manslaughter.

Pedersen was found dead in his bathtub. Investigators said they found Bolden’s fingerprints in the apartment and some of his belongings were in Bolden’s possession.

Bolden was sentenced to death in 1991.

In a court filing, the office of District Attorney Chesa Boudin said the jury never learned that Bolden was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

Boudin also noted that Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a moratorium on executions, although he hasn’t commuted any existing sentences.

“In recent years, an increasing number of Americans — and San Franciscans — have come to recognize that the death penalty is not only undeniably cruel and inconsistent with the values of a humane society, but also fails to deter or prevent crime,” Boudin said in a statement. “My office has not sought and will not seek the death penalty.”

California’s last execution was in 2006. More than 700 inmates remain on death row.

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