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Court: Panelist secretly blocked convict's parole
Court: Parole board member worked in secret with government to block convict's release
By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) ' A former Black Panther convicted of murdering a California park ranger is getting another shot at freedom after a federal appeals panel found a parole official worked in secret to block his release.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a decision last week (Aug. 26) that U.S. Parole Commissioner Deborah Spagnoli tainted the panel's decision to delay Veronza Bowers' release. The court said she wrote a secret memo to government attorneys about the case.

The three-judge panel stopped short of releasing Bowers but ordered the board to grant him another hearing.

Spagnoli resigned from the commission in 2007. She declined to comment.

Bowers is a former captain of a Black Panthers chapter who was convicted of the 1973 killing of Kenneth Patrick at Point Reyes National Seashore.


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