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Woman Pardoned 27 Years After Being Sentenced to Life as Teen | She Fatally Shot Man Who Trafficked Her
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Woman Pardoned 27 Years After Being Sentenced to Life as Teen | She Fatally Shot Man Who Trafficked Her

Sara Kruzan's abuser had sexually assaulted and trafficked her for prostitution since she was 13 years old.

Image Source: KPBS Public Media/ Youtube
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Trigger warning: This article contains themes of sexual assault and trafficking that some readers may find distressing

Sara Kruzan, who was convicted of murder as a minor for killing a man who sexually abused and trafficked her has been pardoned by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Kruzan was 16 years old when she fatally shot George Gilbert Howard in a Riverside, California hotel room in 1994. She was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison the following year. reports PEOPLE. During her trial, she testified that Howard had sexually assaulted and trafficked her for prostitution since she was 13 years old. Kruzan was sentenced with a four-year consecutive firearm enhancement added, per CNN. In 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole. She was paroled and released from jail in 2013 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, but the conviction remained.

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In 2013, Kruzan was resentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder and a four-year firearm enhancement, a total term of 19 years to life. After serving 18 years in prison, Kruzan was released. The pardon from Newsom read, "Ms. Kruzan committed a crime that took the life of the victim. Since then, Ms. Kruzan has transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service. This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself." He added, "This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself."