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1996 gang killer Chek Ngoun granted parole
parole board

The man convicted of being involved in a deadly August 17, 1996 shooting at the Mountain View Grange Hall on Crows Landing Road southwest of Ceres has been awarded his freedom.

Chek Ngoun, 50, formerly of Modesto, was granted parole during a June 16 hearing of the Board of Parole Hearings at the California Institute for Men state prison in Chino. He was  previously denied parole in 2019 and 2020.

Deputy District Tracy Griffin argued against the release of Ngoun. He and other members of the Modesto Hit Squad, a local group affiliated with the Crips criminal street gang, drove to a party at the Mountain View Grange Hall on Crows Landing Road. A fight broke out between rival gang members and then 24-year-old Ngoun shot and killed 18-year-old Kevin Frankie Martinez.

The following month, on Sept. 7, Ngoun and other members got into a fight with several other subjects at a home on Longfellow Avenue in Modesto. Ngoun went home, retrieved a gun and returned to the address where he shot and wounded three separate victims.

Ngoun was convicted of murder with gun use and gang enhancements in the first case and convicted of three counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with enhancements for use of a weapon and infliction of great bodily injury in the second case. He was sentenced to serve 47 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Griffin noted that while in prison, Ngoun has committed several serious rule violations including battery and participating in a coordinated attack on another inmate with his fellow gang members.

At the June 16 parole hearing, Griffin argued against Ngoun’s release based upon his violent history while incarcerated and the risk he poses to public safety if released. A recent psychologist report opined that Ngoun was a low risk for future violence if released.

After deliberations, the Board granted Ngoun’s release on parole. The Board decided that since Ngoun qualified for leniency since he was a “youthful offender” and they are required by law to give great weight to the inmate’s young age and gullibility to peer pressure when he committed his crimes. They also found that Ngoun’s progress in avoiding serious violations since 2009 and his development of parole plans weighed in favor of his release on parole.