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1997 donut shop robber, killer, granted parole

Edgar Arrellano, a former gang member who shot and killed a security guard during a 1997 robbery of a donut shop in south Modesto when he was 15, could soon be freed from prison.

Arrellano, now 40, was found suitable for parole during a Jan. 7 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla.

Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Amy Elliott Neumann argued that Arrellano will pose a danger if released. The Parole Board, however noted that he has expressed remorse for the killing, remained discipline free since 2008, participated in extensive programming classes, received several commendations and furthered his education. The board also gave great weight to the “youthful offender” parole criteria since Arrellano was 15 during the deadly robbery.

The decision now advances to the Decision Review Unit which has 120 days to review the grant of parole. If approved, Gov. Gavin Newsom would have 30 days to let the grant of parole stand, reverse or modify it. A Mexican national, Arrellano, could be deported to Mexico if he is released.

Arrellano and a friend were on their way home from a party early on June 16, 1997 when they decided to rob a donut shop on Crows Landing Road in south Modesto. Arrellano was a member of the criminal street gang Parklawn Boyz and was known by the gang moniker “Beast.”

Shop owners Mike My, Kenny Ung and Conrad Ung were making donuts when Arrellano walked in armed with a handgun. He pointed the gun at Kenny Ung and demanded money from the cash register. After Ung refused, customer Daniel Nieto, an unarmed and uniformed security guard, began to move towards him, Arrellano fatally shot him. Mike My retrieved a firearm and tried to shoot Arrellano who then jumped over the counter and shot him in both arms. Arrellano then shot Conrad Ung, wounding him in the hip and leg. Arrellano continued demanding money and tried unsuccessfully to open the cash register. Arrellano and his accomplice fled the store without any cash and shooting at least five shots into three victims. Nieto died later that day from his wounds.

Arrellano was arrested several days later and found with Mike My’s gun. While he was interrogated, Arrellano confessed to the crime. Tried as an adult, Arrellano was convicted by a Stanislaus County jury of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery and was sentenced in 1999 to serve 40 years-to-life in prison.