Parole has been recommended for Damien Guerrero, the Highland man sentenced in 2008 for his role in the killing of Redlands teen Kelly Bullwinkle 16 years ago.

The recommendation from a Board of Parole Hearings panel was made after a suitability hearing for Guererro, now  35, on Oct. 24.

Kelly Bullwinkle (Courtesy)

The proposed decision becomes final within 120 days from the date of the hearing, and the board’s legal division is required to review all tentative parole grants.

Bullwinkle, an 18-year-old freshman at Crafton Hills College, was last seen on Sept. 13, 2003, leaving her job at Baker’s Burgers in Redlands.

Investigators said Guerrero, then 19, and co-defendant Kinzie Noordman, 20, lured Bullwinkle to San Timoteo Canyon south of Redlands, shot her, and buried her in shallow grave.

Guerrero pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Bullwinkle’s slaying in 2008 after jurors in his 2005 trial deadlocked at 11-1 for a first-degree murder conviction. He was sentenced to 15-years-to life, with five years credit for time served after his arrest.

A different 2005 jury convicted Noordman of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison.

Bullwinkle, Guerrero and Noordman had attended Redlands East Valley High School together.

Guerrero and Noordman claimed Bullwinkle’s slaying in San Timoteo Canyon south of Redlands was a prank gone wrong. They said they dug the shallow grave the day before, as part of the plan to scare Bullwinkle.

Police said Guerrero and Noordman  intended to hoax their friend because Bullwinkle had discussed her former relationship with Guerrero with Guerrero’s new girlfriend.

Guerrero claimed in 2005 testimony that he had a .25-caliber handgun, which fired accidentally as he pulled the gun from his pocket. The round hit Bullwinkle in the head. She survived, but fell to the ground, he said.

Guerrero dropped the gun, and Noordman told him to shoot her again, he said. He refused and said Noordman picked up the gun and fired at Bullwinkle’s head, killing her.

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