Ex-prostitute sentenced to life in prison for killing pimp when she was 16 is pardoned

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Governor Newsom pardons ex-prostitute 27 years after she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing abusive pimp at California motel when she was 16

  • Sara Kruzan was forced into prostitution when she was around 13 in California
  • But she shot dead George Gilbert Howard at motel in Riverside three years later
  • The then teenager was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole
  • She was resentenced to 15 years to life in 2013 and was freed that year aged 35
  • Now, Kruzan has been pardoned for 'transforming her life' over past nine years

By Ruth Bashinsky For Dailymail.Com

Published: 14:46 BST, 5 July 2022 | Updated: 14:58 BST, 5 July 2022

A woman who was slapped with a life sentence without parole in 1994 for killing her abusive pimp when she was just 16 has been pardoned.

Sara Kruzan was forced into prostitution when she was around 13 but shot dead George Gilbert Howard at a motel in Riverside, California, three years later.

The then teenager was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder when she was 17.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger oversaw her sentence being reduced to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole in 2010.

But she was resentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder in 2013 and was freed that year aged 35 after 18 years in prison.

Now, Kruzan has been pardoned for 'transforming her life' after using the past nine years to push for the human rights of incarcerated women and children.

Her supporters wrote a celebratory note on a Facebook page dedicated to her lauding her being 'truly free at least'.

Sara Kruzan was forced into prostitution when she was around 13 but shot dead George Gilbert Howard at a motel in Riverside, California, three years later

The then teenager was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder when she was 17

An exterior photo of the Riverside, California motel located where the murder took place

The pardon said: 'Ms. Kruzan committed a crime that took the life of the victim. Since then, Ms. Kruzan has transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service.

'This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or· forgive her conduct or the harm it caused.'

But it added: 'It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself.' A Facebook post was written from her 'I Am SJK' page by her supporters.

An photo of Sara Kruzan from prison. Kruzan was sexually abused by her pimp who she killed in a motel in Riverside, California in 1994 

'We hope you'll be celebrating freedom with us, Sara's freedom, that is Sara Kruzan, is truly free at last.

Kruzan told how Howard started grooming her when she was just 11 and sexually abused her before becoming her pimp.

She said he made her have sex with 11 men on her first night combing the streets of Hollywood and Orange County.

She started dating a man in San Diego when she was 16 and his uncle is said to have ordered her to kill Howard or he would kill her mother.

Kruzan is then believed to have organized a date with her former pimp and spend a night with him at Dynasty Suites Motel.

But she shot him in the neck from point-blank range when he whipped out a sex toy before taking $1,500 from his wallet and the keys to his Jaguar.

Cops found her purse and ID card at the scene and she was arrested and held at Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California.

On Friday, Kruzan was one of 17 pardons and clemencies that Governor Gavin Newsom granted.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger oversaw her sentence being reduced to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole in 2010

A photo of Kruzan when she was serving her sentence behind bars in a California prison 

On Friday, Kruzan was one of 17 pardons and clemencies that Governor Newsom (pictured) granted

He wrote in the pardon: 'When Ms. Kruzan was 16 years old, she fatally shot the man who had abused her and trafficked her for sex.'

He added 'she has provided evidence that she is living an upright life and has demonstrated her fitness for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities'.

The pardon does not erase her conviction but says it works to remove 'counterproductive barriers to employment and public service'.

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