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Santa Rosa man convicted of 1984 killing of Napa prostitute denied freedom from prison

A Santa Rosa man serving a life sentence for strangling one prostitute to death and attempting to kill another in two separate incidents in 1983 and 1984 was denied parole last week for at least another five years, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

The California Department of Corrections Board of Parole Hearings on Wednesday determined Gregory Gossett, 58, still posed a high risk of violence due to issues of entitlement, impulsiveness and a lack of insight into his crimes, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.

In April 1985, Gossett was sentenced to prison for 15 years to life for killing Francine Rose Laraia, 30, of Napa, whose body was discovered Jan. 27, 1984, in a ditch on Alba Lane near Cardinal Newman High School. Gossett admitted to fatally choking her with a bathrobe belt after he demanded Laraia return $150 he paid her for sex and she refused.

Gossett also was convicted of the attempted murder of another escort from Sebastopol in 1983. Similarly, he paid the woman for sex and choked her after she refused his demand to return the money.

The consecutive sentences imposed by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge William Bettinelli were the maximum possible for Gossett, who was 21 when he was sentenced. His parole denial comes after he requested parole under youthful offender laws.

You can reach Staff Writer Yousef Baig at 707-521-5390 or yousef.baig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @YousefBaig.

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