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Former Keyes man denied parole
• Three strikes conviction included rape in prison & drug sales
parole board

Former Keyes resident Kenneth Dowe Smith who was sent to prison in 2000 after a Three Strikes drug conviction, was recently denied parole.

During his Oct. 11 parole hearing at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, the parole board felt Smith would pose a risk to the public if released, citing his lack of empathy or remorse toward his victims, lack of self-awareness as to why he committed crimes and a lack of self-control in prison.

Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Margot L. Roen presented her case as to why the 64-year-old needed to stay locked up. The board won’t consider parole for Smith for another five years.

During the parole hearing, Smith admitted selling the drugs and alcohol to other inmates. 

Smith has a lengthy criminal history starting as a juvenile and served several prison terms as an adult. He had been convicted of sodomy in concert with force in 1979 when he and other inmates gang raped a 24-year-old male hospital worker in a prison cell. Smith admitted to the rape during the hearing but had denied it in a June interview with a forensic psychologist.

Roen questioned Smith about his denial just months prior, and he answered that he had lied to the psychologist. Smith said that he found his victim “disgusting” and did not know why he raped him. When asked by the psychologist about the rape and his feelings toward gay men, Smith replied: “I just don’t care for those kinds of people.” Smith, who also participated in the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang during his incarceration, also expressed his dislike for people of color.

Smith’s rape conviction and a 1987 robbery conviction counted as “strikes” under California’s “Three Strikes” law. In 1993, he was sentenced to serve 25 years to life in state prison.

His third strike came after his release and June 11, 2000 arrest for drugs. Authorities were preparing to check on the welfare of six children living at a woman’s residence in Modesto when they learned that her boyfriend, Kenneth Smith, had an outstanding arrest warrant for violating parole. When officers arrived, Smith tried to run but was arrested. He was sent back to prison for possession of heroin, methamphetamine, syringes and other drug paraphernalia.

Prosecutor Roen argued against Smith’s racist and homophobic attitudes revealed an anger and hatred that increased his potential for future violence if released into the community.

The Board also found that Smith failed to adequately internalize the teachings of programs he had participated in behind bar. For instance, Smith stated that he routinely attended Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings yet could not name even one of the 12 steps that are the bedrock of the programs.

Smith’s next parole hearing will be scheduled in 2027 although he may petition for an earlier date if he can show a change in circumstances.