On April 7, Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the Board of Parole Hearings’ decision to grant Christopher Michael Fowler parole.
Fowler was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 22-month-old son in 1983. He was up for parole in 2010 and claimed relationship stress, anger and lack of sleep all contributed to the murder.
Fowler was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder. On Nov. 8, 2010, the board decided that Fowler was eligible for parole. The Yolo County sheriff, the Woodland police chief and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office expressed concerns for his release.
If Fowler were released from prison, he would serve the rest of his sentence outside of jail. He would still be under the supervision of a parole officer.
After the board hearings, Brown reviewed the case. In his review, Brown said Fowler’s explanation did not justify the killing of the child.
“Mr. Fowler’s crime was appalling and senseless,” Brown said. “When considered as a whole, I find the evidence I have discussed shows why he currently poses a danger to society if released from prison.”
In 1983, Fowler lived in Woodland with his girlfriend, her three year-old daughter and her 22-month-old son, Aaron Miller. On Nov. 1, 1983, Fowler was watching his girlfriend’s children and decided to put them down for a nap, falling asleep himself.
He woke up to his girlfriend’s three year-old daughter telling him the baby was crying. Fowler went to Aaron and slapped him off the bed. He then picked up Aaron and threw him to the ground, resulting in Aaron hitting his head.
Fowler called his girlfriend, telling her Aaron was having a seizure. His girlfriend called her mother, Betty Thomas, a nurse. The girlfriend and her mother arrived to see the three year-old crying and Fowler performing CPR on the baby. Thomas took over giving CPR and then took Aaron to the hospital.
Aaron was pronounced dead two days later due to craniocerebral trauma.
The victim’s family and Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven appeared at Fowler’s parole hearing in November, protesting Fowler’s release.
“Fowler is not aware of what he did. He murdered Aaron and was apathetic about it,” Thomas said. “Everything is always about Christopher. Aaron enraged him, so he murdered the baby. Parole is all about him too, so if he were released, he’d want a party and invite all of his friends.”
Although Brown said Fowler tried to improve himself while in jail by earning a degree in psychology and other certifications in various fields, attending self-help programs and volunteering, Brown did not believe that these acts were enough to make up for the crime committed.
Raven said when a governor reverses an inmate’s parole, the inmate is entitled to another parole hearing within one year.
Thomas was satisfied with Brown’s decision.
“I do forgive him, but I’m afraid he might kill again,” Thomas said. “Some people just don’t understand their actions.”
CLAIRE TAN can be reached at email@example.com