Gov. Gavin Newsom has commuted the sentence of a man convicted in Humboldt County in 1995 of murder.
Samuel Eldredge shot and killed Robert Bennett, his crime partner’s housemate, in 1994. The following year, Eldredge was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole of the murder with a firearm enhancement.
Eldredge, now 61, has now served more than 25 years in prison. He is currently housed in a Los Angeles-area prison.
“I have carefully considered and weighed the evidence of his positive conduct in prison and his good prospects for successful community reentry,” Newsom wrote in the commutation. “I have concluded that Mr. Eldredge merits the opportunity to make his case to the Board of Parole Hearings so it can determine whether he is suitable for parole.”
In his more than two decades behind bars, Eldredge “dedicated himself to rehabilitation,” according to the commutation document. He has completed self-help programs and participated in the Paws for Life service dog training program.
He has also expressed remorse for his actions.
“I accept responsibility for my actions, ill-conceived life choices and decisions,” the document quoted him as saying.
He has also been praised by prison staff.
“I have observed (Eldridge) undertake and complete his job assignment with a high degree of knowledge and skill,” on correctional officer stated. “(Eldredge’s) work as a tutor has had a positive impact not only on (the unit) but the Progressive Programming Facility as a whole.”
Newsom notes in the commutation, “the act of clemency for Mr. Eldredge does not minimize or forgive his conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work he has done since to transform himself.”
Ruth Schneider can be reached at 707-441-0520. The Associated Press contributed to this report.