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On December 4, 1990, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Pepper made a routine
traffic stop on a motorist who had been speeding in the Mt. Aukum area. Unbeknownst to
Deputy Pepper, the motorist, 25 year old Brian Montgomery, had been doing meth for several
days and had the ingredients for making methamphetamine in his car. Montgomery was
concerned about going to jail and was determined to avoid it - by any means necessary. As
Deputy Pepper approached his car, Montgomery said “Good evening officer” and then pulled out
a .22 automatic rifle and shot Deputy Pepper 11 times before speeding off. Deputy Pepper took
cover behind his patrol car and returned fire. Pepper, who wore a bullet-proof vest, suffered
bullet wounds to the chest, shoulder, side, abdomen, and back. Miraculously, Deputy Pepper
Montgomery was ultimately apprehended and prosecuted for the crime of attempted
murder of a police officer. After a jury trial in 1991, he was convicted and sentenced to 7 years
to life plus 8 years.
Montgomery, now 49, recently had his 8th parole hearing on March 3, 2016 at Solano
State Prison where he is currently serving his sentence. Once again, Montgomery urged the
Parole Board to release him, arguing that he was a changed person and remorseful for his crime.
Pepper, the now retired Deputy Sheriff, appeared at the hearing via telephone. He asked the
Board to deny parole, as Montgomery has not demonstrated that he is capable of making good
decisions and acting appropriately.
The District Attorney’s Office argued that Montgomery continues to represent a serious
danger to the public. He has shown very little insight into why he committed this heinous crime.
He has said on various occasions that anger contributed to the offense and yet he has done little
to address his anger issues. Only six months ago, Montgomery was caught fighting with another
inmate. Thankfully, the Parole Board denied Montgomery parole, finding that he presents an
unreasonable risk to public safety. The Board noted that Montgomery did not have sufficient
insight into what was a callous, cold-hearted crime.
Montgomery will not be eligible for parole for another five years. Only 15% to 20% of
parolees receive five year denials. According to the Board of Parole statistics, the most common
denial is three years.
Reversal of a Board of Parole decision to grant parole is not common. An example of
this is the recent parole hearing of Charles Newport, who was in prison for murder and was
granted parole in 2015. On March 4, 2016, prior to his scheduled release, Governor Brown
reversed the Board’s decision stating that, “. . . Mr. Newport is currently dangerous. When
considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that he currently poses an unreasonable danger
to society if released from prison.”
District Attorney Vern Pierson commented, “As the California Department of
Corrections continues to release more and more prisoners, it is even more important that we
remain vigilant to fight the release of violent prisoners to our streets.”