(KRON) — A California inmate who went on killing spree in the 1960s in Monterey County was granted parole, and prosecutors vowed this week to continue fighting against his scheduled release.

Jose Francisco Velasquez was 24 years old when he acted as a “ringleader” behind a series of killings in 1966, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office said. He is now 81 years old. The Board of Parole Hearings granted his request for freedom citing California’s Youthful Offender and Elder Parole laws.

“We believe the inmate continues to pose an unreasonable current risk of harm to the public based on the egregious facts of these murders and currently lacks insight into both his responsibility for these murders and his sexual deviance,” prosecutors wrote.

“During a horrific crime spree in 1966, inmate Velasquez and his crime partners Luis Francisco Pacheco, Jose Luis Galvan, Frank Urrea Gonzales, and Juan Vasquez Garcia, brutally murdered four victims,” the DA’s Office wrote.

On July 29, 1966, Velasquez, Gonzales, and Garcia robbed and fatally stabbed the first victim, Eduardo Dominguez, and left his body in a ditch. The victim was an acquaintance of his killers. Dominguez had been drinking at the Resbalon Bar in King City and asked the trio for a ride home.

“Gonzales drove and fluttered the gas pedal, pretending to have run out of gasoline. Garcia and victim Dominguez then argued. A struggle took place and victim Dominquez was stabbed and dragged from the car. Victim Dominguez was clubbed and stabbed multiple times, and robbed of his shoes, wallet, and $90 cash. Dominguez’s body was thrown into an irrigation ditch,” the DA’s Office wrote.

Two weeks later, on August 7, 1966, Velasquez and his crime partners murdered “John Doe,” prosecutors said. The victim had been drinking at the Top Hat Bar in King City and asked the group for a ride home.

Velasquez knew “John Doe” because they were from the same hometown. Velasquez demanded money from the victim, but he declined because he had already bought the group a round of drinks. On the drive home, the car suddenly pulled over.

“Velasquez opened the car door and grabbed Doe by the head and told Garcia, ‘go ahead,’ whereupon Garcia shot Doe in the head. Doe’s body was dragged across the road into a ditch. Doe was stabbed 55 times by Velasquez, codefendants Garcia and Galvan, (and Pacheco) … and robbed of his pants, shoes, watch, ring, and a Saint Christopher medal. Velasquez sodomized the body and buried it in a shallow grave,” the DA’s Office wrote.

Later that evening, while driving away from the scene of the murder, the group’s car approached three men who were walking down the road: victims Manuel Guerrero, Steven Sanchez, and Roberto Rodriguez.

The group discussed whether they should pick the victims up, or run them over.

“Velasquez and Garcia wanted to run them down. Guerrero was killed on impact and his body was knocked into an irrigation ditch. Sanchez received a glancing blow from the right front fender and was knocked into a beet field. Rodriguez was able to get out of the way and took off through the fields. Velasquez and Galvan took off after Rodriguez but were unable to catch him and returned,” the DA’s Office wrote.

Pacheco found Sanchez in the field and hit him with a club that had nails attached to it, prosecutors said. Velasquez, Galvan and Garcia then stabbed Sanchez with knives 82 times, according to prosecutors. The group took his wallet containing $60.

The killers then dumped the bodies of Guerrero and Sanchez in a tomato field on Spreckles Road near King City.

Velasquez was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

A parole hearing in August marked the 19th time that Velasquez had appeared before the Board of Parole Hearings. The board found that Velasquez’s lack of violence and rule breaking while in prison outweighed his unsatisfactory answers in the areas of triggers, motivations, coping skills, understanding causative factors, self-awareness, and insight.

In August of 2018 at his 16th appearance, he was granted parole. In December of 2018, then-Governor Jerry Brown reversed that grant of parole. At his 17th appearance in January 2020, the inmate was again granted parole, and in May of 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom reversed that decision. At his 18th appearance, in June 2021, the inmate was granted parole and Newsom again reversed the decision.

This week, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office asked Newsom to reverse the grant of parole a third time before Velasquez is freed.