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California Man Granted Parole Decades After Killing Fellow Poker Player Over $4

State Could Let 82-Year-Old Out Of Prison

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An elderly man could soon get to walk free again nearly 40 years after shooting and killing another man in a poker home game over $4.

The Modesto Bee reported Thursday that California granted parole to Matthew Gooch, 82, who has been in prison ever since being convicted of the 1980 slaying of Franklin Woods Jr. The Governor’s Office is reviewing the parole board’s decision.

On Jan. 3, 1980 in Modesto, Gooch became upset over the $4 loss and left and returned armed with a loaded shotgun. He approached Woods and with one shot to the neck killed him. Police said Gooch admitted to the crime, but he later claimed self-defense.

The self-defense claim didn’t work, and he was sentenced to 17 years to life in prison.

Gooch was denied parole as recently as 2014. Gooch had told the parole board that he would kill again if someone stole from him. The state also said he has no support system left.