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No parole for killer in 1994 shooting

Parole was denied for a former Turlock resident imprisoned in 1994 for murdering his friend of 15 years, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office reported.

Santiago Garcia Zamora, 60, was convicted on July 22, 1994, by a Stanislaus County jury for first-degree premeditated murder for the fatal shooting of Raul Robledo, who he had been friends with for 15 years. The conviction carried an enhancement for using a firearm and two out on bail enhancements for failing to appear for sentencing after previously being convicted of drug crimes.

According to the court records, Zamora shot and killed Robledo and then drove his pickup truck into several nearby residential driveways honking his horn and yelling and screaming.

Turlock Police officers responded to the scene and found Zamora wearing blood-soaked clothing and blood on his hands. There was blood on the floorboards of the truck, several .45 caliber shell casings and a slipper belonging to the victim.

Initially, it wasn’t known whose blood Zamora was covered in, but a picture began to unfold when a couple happened to find Robledo’s body in the roadway and called 911. The next afternoon, a citizen found a .45 caliber handgun a half mile from the crime scene and turned it over to police.

Zamora first gave investigators a false name and said someone else had killed Robledo. He claimed that this individual then made him shoot his friend in the head.

“In a later interview, Zamora admitted to the murder but told detectives he did not know why he did it,” said District Attorney spokesman John Goold. “Zamora also claimed to have been on a four-day binge of using alcohol and cocaine, however law enforcement did not believe he was under the influence at the time and noted that he answered their questions without any difficulty.”

Zamora was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison.

While incarcerated, Zamora was convicted of selling controlled substances in prison in 2003 and possessing controlled substances in 2007. He received an addition six years on both cases consecutive to his original 36-year prison term. Zamora also had multiple serious rules violations including possession of controlled substances, conspiracy to sell controlled substances, fighting and several lesser rule violations.

In 2016, Zamora told a prison psychologist that he did not know why he shot Robledo. That psychologist gave the opinion that Zamora posed a high risk for future violence if released into the community. In 2019, Zamora told a different psychologist that he and the victim had argued over money. That psychologist believed Zamora only posed a moderate risk of violence if released on parole.

At Zamora’s most recent parole hearing Deputy District Attorney Victoria Vasquez argued against Zamora’s release based on the nature of his crime, his violations of prison rules and felony convictions while in prison custody as well as his poorly formed parole plans.

Following deliberations, the Board denied parole for a period of three years. The Board found Zamora was an unreasonable risk of danger to society if released. The Board cited several factors, including Zamora’s “cruel, hateful, and senseless acts,” his failure to admit he recently obtained controlled substances from another inmate for pain management, minimizing his association with a prison gang when he was selling controlled substances within the prison and his lack of credibility when discussing his substance abuse issues during the hearing. This was Zamora’s second denial of parole since he became eligible for parole consideration in 2015. He previously waived his right to a hearing in 2016 and 2017. His next hearing will be scheduled sometime in 2025, however he may petition the Board for an earlier date if he can demonstrate a change in circumstances.