Gov. Jerry Brown overturns parole board decision for O.C.'s 'devil cult' killer

Orange County Register/February 23, 2015

By Sean Emery and Kelly Puente

A man who has spent decades in prison for his role in a notorious “devil cult” murder spree will remain behind bars for the foreseeable future, as Gov. Jerry Brown has overturned an earlier parole board decision that found the killer suitable for release.

Arthur Craig “Moose” Hulse is serving a life sentence for the slayings of Santa Ana gas station attendant Jerry Wayne Carlin, 20, and El Toro schoolteacher Nancy Brown, 29, in 1970.

In November, news of Hulse’s possible parole ignited shock and anger for family members still dealing with the aftermath of the more than 40-year-old murders.

Patricia Kramer, who married Carlin shortly before he was killed, led a letter-writing campaign to the governor’s office, which ultimately overturned the parole board's decision.

Kramer, who was pregnant with their son, Jason, at the time of her husband’s death, said the family is relieved. She said she plans to launch another letter-writing campaign when Hulse becomes eligible for parole again in March 2016.

“I did this for my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren and for the state of California because I don’t want him to get loose. He deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life,” Kramer, 63, said Monday. “I’ve been writing letters for the last 30 years, and I will continue to write letters as long as I live.”

In his decision last week, Brown acknowledged that Hulse suffered through an unstable childhood with a mother who was a paranoid schizophrenic and noted that Hulse has found religion, become active in self-help groups and classes and has not taken part in misconduct during his lengthy prison stay.

However, the governor determined, Hulse still represents a danger to the public.

“Far too many are bullied as children or struggle with drug addiction, but Mr. Hulse’s level of violence is, thankfully, exceedingly rare,” Brown wrote. “Until Mr. Hulse can adequately explain his reasons for committing these vicious crimes, I do not think he is ready to be released.”

The killings of Carlin and Brown were carried out by members of the Sons of Satan motorcycle gang, a small group of transient, devil-worshiping drug users led by Steven Hurd. Following in the wake of the Manson family murders a year earlier in Los Angeles, the slayings triggered a wave of fear in Orange County.

Carlin was brutally attacked with a Boy Scout hatchet on June 2, 1970, while working an overnight shift at a gas station. A day later, the Sons of Satan hijacked a station wagon driven by Brown, stabbed the mother of four more than 20 times and left her body in an Irvine field.

Hulse was a 16-year-old “prospect” hoping to join the Sons of Satan. He was convicted of killing Carlin with the rusty hatchet and of helping to bury Brown in a shallow grave.

In 2014, Hulse told a psychologist that what he described as an “explosion” of violent behavior was the result of being bullied for being an overweight child, drug use and a desire to gain acceptance from the Sons of Satan.

“It remains unclear to me why Mr. Hulse was so desperate for the approval of Mr. Hurd and the Sons of Satan that he was willing to commit murder in the first place, let alone a murder as gruesome and extreme as this one,” the governor wrote.

Hulse has been rejected for parole more than a dozen times. But recent changes in state law have given underage killers a new hope for freedom, requiring authorities when weighing a potential parole to take into account the “diminished culpability of juveniles compared to adults,” and to weigh whether they have since matured.

Prosecutor Scott Simmons said the Orange County District Attorney’s Office was adamantly opposed to the parole board’s decision to release Hulse.

“I think the governor made the right decision,” Simmons said.

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