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A man serving 400-plus year sentence has a shot at parole

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San Francisco, CA (ABC) — San Jose man serving a 400-plus year sentence for raping more than two dozen women now has a shot at parole.

George Anthony Sanchez has been at Soledad State Prison since 1989, but a relatively new California law could make way for his release. He’s making his case before a parole board as we speak.

In the mid-eighties many residents lived in fear of a notorious rapist who terrorized women in and around churches in nine South Bay communities. But a break in the case eventually came in 1987.

“We are convinced that with the evidence at hand that he is clearly the ski mask rapist,” Fmr. Chief Ike Hernandez, San Jose Police Dept said.

Former San Jose sewer worker, George Anthony Sanchez, was sentenced to more than 400 years in prison for ambushing and raping at least 25 women over a three-year period.

His victims thought they could move on without fear that Sanchez would ever be released from Soledad State Prison, his home since 1989, but California’s “elderly parole program” has shaken their sense of security.

The program offers parole hearings to state prisoners who are 60 or older and have served at least 25 years.

Sanchez, who is now 58, went in for an early hearing this afternoon under a special set of circumstances because he committed most of his crimes before the age of 26, which classified him as a youthful offender.

In an interview with our media partner, The Mercury News, one victim said, “I thought he had no chance at parole. I will do anything in this world to keep that from happening. I’ll go to every parole hearing. I will do whatever it takes to keep him in prison.”

Prison reform advocates believe the program, which was adopted in 2014 but put into law in 2017, is one of the most humane, practical and cost-effective solutions to prison overcrowding.

It’s also to prevent the state from providing expensive in-custody care for people too frail to pose a danger.

The inmates who typically don’t qualify are ones serving life sentences without parole, or those who are currently on death row.

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