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‘Three Striker’ Coke denied parole
• Inmate continues to break prison rules
parole board

Former Ceres resident Mark Edward Coke, 61, was found unsuitable for parole during a Jan. 23 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings at California Medical Facility in Vacaville.

Deputy District Attorney Holly MacKinnon appeared at the hearing and argued for continued confinement because he doesn’t appear to be reformed.

In November 1998, Coke stole two micro torches from the Ceres Walmart in Ceres and was arrested. While his court case was pending Coke escaped from the Honor Farm but was arrested weeks later. At the time Coke had served two prior prison terms after convictions for possession of controlled substances, burglary, attempted murder and numerous parole violations.

When Coke was convicted on Feb. 25, 1999 of petty theft with priors, the “Three Strikes” law was used to increase his sentence to 25 years to life.

While in prison, Coke has violated a number of prison rules, including battery on a fellow inmate, possessing alcohol, refusing to provide a urine sample, and possessing morphine, heroin, drug paraphernalia and cell phones and chargers. 

A prison psychologist assessed Coke in 2021 and felt he posed a moderate risk for violence if released from prison. The psychologist felt Coke’s ongoing recent procurement of methamphetamines, heroin and alcohol in prison in recent years suggests that he has maintained associations with antisocially minded peers.

At prior hearings, the parole board recommended Coke improve his parole plans, participate in more substance abuse and gang awareness programming, and work on obtaining marketable skills.

MacKinnon asked the board to deny parole, pointing out that Coke had not participated in any of the mental health or substance abuse programs and rule breaking make him an unreasonable risk of danger to the community if he were released. The board agreed, but determined he has shown some progress. He will be considered for release in three years.

This was Coke’s second parole hearing. He was previously denied parole in 2022 for a period of three years. Due to his age, he is eligible for elder parole consideration and may petition the Board for another hearing earlier than in three years should his circumstances support it.