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Former Ceres resident, convicted killer withdraws parole request
• Killed Downey High teacher Crahan in ’81
corrections department seal

Former Ceres resident and convicted killer Jack Dewayne Britt, 55, of Modesto, waived his right to parole at the onset of a May 12 hearing before the Board of Parole Hearings held at High Desert State prison near Susanville.

Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Monroe Tyler was prepared to argue against his release from a sentence imposed when he was convicted of killing a Downey High School teacher in 1981.

Britt has previously been denied parole 13 times. A 2017 psychological assessment rated Britt as a low risk for violence if released on parole and noted he had been free of any rules violations since 2014. But a May 2017 parole hearing held at the State Prison in Corcoran, Deputy District Attorney Jeff Mangar argued for Britt’s continued confinement based on the callousness of the murder, his disciplinary problems while in prison and the unreasonable risk to public safety should he be paroled. He noted Britt’s prison tattoo of a German helmet and Nazi swastika along with his violent and disruptive behavior that repeatedly occurred in prison. The board agreed that Britt posed an unreasonable risk to public safety and denied parole until this year. 

In February Britt allegedly conspired to assault another inmate with a weapon, a case which was referred to the Lassen County District Attorney’s office for review. Although rejected for filing, commissioners advised Britt that the report would likely make him not eligible for parole. Britt then waived his right to parole for a year rather than risk receiving a longer denial from the board.

On the morning of Dec. 1, 1981, then 17-year-old Britt – along with 18-year-olds Stoney Hunt, Chuck Earl and Jonathon McIntyre – fatally shot Downey High School teacher John Byron Crahan, 51. The four mistakenly believed Crahan was wealthy because he drove a new Chevrolet Corvette. Hunt was a former student and had done yard work for the teacher. They planned to kidnap Crahan and force him to withdraw $1 million dollars from his bank account. The plot was overheard by Hunt’s brother-in-law who tipped off Crahan who then armed himself and waited for the intruders at his Modesto house. The teenagers had two handguns supplied by Earl. Britt was carrying one. McIntyre initially had the other, but gave it to Hunt. Crahan fired at McIntyre as he was standing near Crahan’s garage. Britt, who was hiding behind Crahan’s truck in the driveway, fatally shot Crahan in the chest. In April of 1982 a jury found McIntyre guilty of first degree murder, attempted kidnapping, and also of conspiring to kidnap Crahan’s 81-year-old mother, who lived with Crahan.

Britt, Hunt and McIntyre were all convicted of Crahan’s murder and each was sentenced to life in prison.

Hunt was paroled in 2012 and McIntyre in 2010.