San Luis Obispo – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Board of Parole Hearings today denied parole for convicted killer Gregory Ulas Powell during a hearing at California Men’s Colony (CMC). Powell was sentenced in 1963 following a Los Angeles County conviction of first-degree murder.
Powell, 76, appeared before the panel and the Board returned a denial for parole with a 3-year consideration period. Today’s decision was the result of Powell’s eleventh parole suitability hearing.
Powell and a co-defendant, Jimmy Lee Smith, were convicted of kidnapping Los Angeles Police Officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger during a traffic stop in Hollywood and killing Campbell in an onion field near Bakersfield in March 1963. The case was made famous in the book and movie, "The Onion Field." Both Powell and Smith were initially sentenced to death; however, their death sentences were commuted to life in prison after the death penalty was briefly outlawed in the 1970s. In 2007, Smith died in a county jail where he was being held on a parole violation.