A Sonoma County judge has ordered a convicted killer freed after 18 years behind bars, but the state is fighting the ruling. Superior Court Judge Elliot Lee Daum says Governor Gray Davis violated state law in refusing to grant parole to 68 year old Raymond Skinner. Skinner was convicted of killing his wife in 1983 at a Santa Rosa motel. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked Daum yesterday to halt the release order so the state can appeal. It´s not likely that Skinner will be free any time soon. The case is one of several in which judges have ruled Davis exceeded his authority in blocking parole. Davis is opposed to parole for convicted killers.
Skinner was an Oregon resident when the killing took place. Ten years ago he was allowed to serve his sentence near his family in Oregon. He´s currently locked up at the state prison in Salem. Last year, the Parole Board ordered Skinner released. Davis overturned the ruling, as he has for all but two of 72 such cases with which he´s dealt.