Convicted murderer Sam Strange released to supervised parole in Alameda County
Special to the Sierra Sun
He spent nearly a quarter century in custody.
But Sam Strange, in state prison since he was convicted in 1996 of murdering two 16-year-old Nevada County girls — Crissy Campbell and Dawn Donaldson — has been released.
Strange was released Saturday to supervised parole in Alameda County. He will remain on supervised parole until Jan. 17, 2022, said Joe Orlando, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Strange was granted parole suitability in August, his fourth attempt since 2013. The parole process took about five more months, with the decision first undergoing review by the parole board’s legal office. It then was subject to a 30-day review by the governor, who could have upheld the grant of parole, reversed it, modified it, sent it to the full parole board for review and ruling, or taken no action.
Campbell’s family has advocated for Strange’s release, while Donaldson’s family has always maintained his guilt and said last year they were devastated by the news of his possible release.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chose to take no action on Strange’s proposed parole after review, a spokeswoman said.
Strange had been serving his sentence in Valley State Prison in Chowchilla after he was found guilty of the brutal deaths of Campbell and Donaldson.
Both girls were last seen alive at Strange’s Retrac Way home on July 23, 1994, and their bodies were found more than a week later on South Ponderosa Way. Strange consistently pointed the finger at two other men, saying he witnessed the murders and only disposed of the girls’ bodies, keeping quiet out of fear of retaliation and loyalty to his friends.
Strange, now 45, was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder, and was sentenced to two sentences of 15 years to life, to be served consecutively.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.