Man suitable for parole in Modesto fatal shooting of love rival

08/10/2014 5:05 PM

08/10/2014 5:06 PM

A Richmond man convicted of shooting to death a rival in a love triangle in Modesto nearly 25 years ago has been found suitable for parole.

A jury in April 1991 found Billy Gene Allen, 45, guilty of first-degree murder in the Sept. 12, 1989, shooting of 27-year-old Johnny Whittaker at the former Prescott Estates housing complex in north Modesto.

Allen also was convicted of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; Dan Ensley and Ronald Alexander were injured by pellets from the two shotgun blasts Allen fired at Whittaker. Prosecutors have said Allen fired the sawed-off shotgun at point-blank range.

A parole board found Allen suitable to be released from prison during a June 12 hearing at San Quentin State Prison, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced last week. Gov. Jerry Brown has 120 to 150 days to decide whether to approve the board’s decision and grant parole for Allen.

Whittaker began dating Allen’s former girlfriend and tension built between the two men as each threatened the other, according to trial testimony.

Prosecutors said Allen’s co-defendant, Damon Rivas, lured Whittaker and his two friends outside of Allen’s former girlfriend’s home. They said Allen was standing by his car when he shot Whittaker twice in the chest, killing him.

Allen was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison. At his June parole hearing, Deputy District Attorney Jeff Laugero asked the board to keep Allen in prison because of the “atrocious and cruel” nature of the crime.

The prosecutor also argued that Allen tried to shift blame for the crime to Whittaker until early this year, when he admitted responsibility during an assessment in preparation for his parole hearing.

The prosecutors said the parole board ignored the severity of the crime and discounted Allen’s lack of remorse for the better part of the past 24 years.

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