Local murderer denied parole for a sixth time


VISALIA – A Visalia murderer was denied parole for a sixth time earlier this month.

On March 6, a California parole board at Corcoran State Prison issued a three-year denial for Raymond Chavez, 64, for the 1979 murder of a man in north Visalia. Around 3:15 in the morning on Aug. 26, 1979, after an evening of drinking, Chavez and four other males got in to two cars and began driving in the area of Perez Ave. when they observed the victims, a husband and wife, loading their car with luggage as they prepared for a trip. As the couple drove off in their vehicle, Chavez and the group obstructed their path by blocking them in the front and back with their vehicles. Chavez confronted the husband seated in the driver’s seat, pointed a gun at his head, and demanded their valuables.

Dissatisfied with the $150 presented to them, the group attempted entry to the car, but were deterred by locked doors and windows. The husband attempted to turn the wheel to get away, but Chavez shot him once in the temple, killing him instantly. The husband’s foot hit the gas which sent the car up on to the curb eventually striking a tree. Chavez and the group fled, but were located and taken into custody on August 29.

Chavez was positively identified as the shooter by the victim’s wife. In May of 1981, Chavez was convicted of first-degree murder with the special allegation of using a firearm and the special circumstance that the murder took place during the commission of a robbery, and robbery with the special allegation of personal use of a firearm. He was originally sentenced to death, but later re-sentenced to 27 years-to-life on appeal. Chavez has significant gang ties. This was Chavez’s sixth parole hearing. The District Attorney’s Office routinely attends parole hearings and a deputy district attorney argued against the inmate’s release in this case.

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