Parole denied for 2 Sonoma County men
Hill convicted in mobile home killings; Bunke in prison for wife's murder
Published: Friday, February 27, 2009 at 4:05 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 27, 2009 at 4:05 a.m.
The state Board of Parole Hearings has denied release for two Sonoma County men convicted of murders in the 1980s.
Prosecutor Traci Carrillo argued against release for both Roger Hill and Larry Bunke.
Hill was convicted of first-degree murder after breaking into a mobile home and attacking the residents in November 1980.
According to prosecutors, Hill went into the unlocked mobile home of Ralph and Gale Currier about 5:30 a.m. to burglarize the place. Gale Currier woke up, saw Hill and screamed.
Hill pushed her down and began struggling with Ralph Currier. Hill stabbed Ralph Currier 17 times.
In 1982, he was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. He has now been denied parole eight times.
The parole board also deemed Bunke unsuitable for parole. He was also seeking release for the eighth time.
Bunke was convicted of second-degree murder in 1983 after a May 1982 incident with his estranged wife, Linda, 31.
Bunke attacked his wife and beat her brutally with a belt, causing serious head wounds including skull fractures. She died five days after the attack.
He admitted punching his wife several times but said he did so to quiet her screams and find out where one of their daughters was, according to trial testimony. He claimed the fatal head injuries occurred accidentally when he dropped her while trying to carry her into the house.
Bunke was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Members of the Bunke and Currier families were present for the hearings.
Both men are being housed at Solano State Prison. They will be eligible for another parole hearing in three years.
When inmates become eligible for parole, the state parole board holds a hearing before a panel, typically two commissioners appointed by the governor, to hear evidence about the inmate's suitability for release. The commissioners review the inmate's prison record, circumstances of the original crime, prior convictions and other factors and decide whether the inmate still poses an unreasonable risk to the public.
The board denies parole in the majority of cases.
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