Inmate Denied Parole in 1995 Torture and Murder Case in Yolo County

Inmate Denied Parole in 1995 Torture and Murder Case in Yolo County

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has announced that the Board of Parole Hearings commissioners has denied parole to convicted murderer Michael Todd.

Todd, now 57, is currently serving his sentence at California State Prison in Los Angeles. The decision comes after a recent parole hearing held on May 10th.

The murder occurred in March of 1995 in West Sacramento, involving Todd and his accomplice Kenneth Buffer. The victim was identified as James Williams. Testimonies during the trial revealed that Williams owed both Buffer and Todd a significant sum of money resulting from a drug deal. Buffer mercilessly beat Mr. Williams, leaving him in a coma, while Todd burned the victim multiple times with a heated knife and poured caustic liquid over his body, causing severe burns.

Williams was later abandoned in the back seat of his own car by Buffer, who left him to die. Williams succumbed to “blunt force trauma” ten days later at the hospital, the DA’s Office said.

Both Buffer and Todd were convicted of first-degree murder and torture, receiving sentences of 25-years-to-life in prison. However, Todd had been appealing his conviction for the past four years, citing a new law enacted in January 2019. This law modified the felony murder statute, exempting individuals who did not act with malice or were not major participants acting with reckless disregard during specified felony offenses. Todd reportedly argued that he did not physically beat the victim and denied causing the burns, claiming his actions did not contribute to the victim’s death.

However, Judge Stephen Mock, on August 26, 2022, denied Todd’s petition. The judge concluded that Todd’s repeated burning of the victim with a hot knife did contribute to the victim’s death and constituted implied malice murder. Todd has appealed Judge Mock’s decision to the Third District Court of Appeals.

During the recent parole hearing, Todd reportedly took full responsibility for his actions and acknowledged his contribution to the death of Williams. When asked about his petition and appeal to overturn the conviction, Todd said he believed he had withdrawn it, the DA’s office said.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig expressed satisfaction with the parole board’s decision, stating, “The family of James Williams has endured immeasurable pain since this senseless and brutal murder. We will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf to honor Mr. Williams and ensure the safety of society. It is the least we can do for this family and all others who have endured similar tragedies.”

Mr. Todd will be eligible for another parole hearing in 2026.

Inmate Denied Parole in 1995 Torture and Murder Case in Yolo County was last modified: May 19th, 2023 by admin
Categories: Yolo

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