Tuolumne County District Attorney Laura Krieg announced today that convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt will remain in state prison despite the California Board of Parole finding him suitable for parole and granting him a release date earlier this year. On April 7, 2016, Hyatt had a parole hearing at RJ Donovan State Prison in San Diego. During the hearing, District Attorney Krieg argued that Hyatt should not be released as he continues to pose a current risk of dangerousness to society. Despite Krieg’s arguments opposing release, the panel found Hyatt suitable for parole.
On August 19, 2016, District Attorney Krieg received notice that Governor Brown had reviewed and reversed the Board of Parole’s decision to release Hyatt, finding that in light of all of the evidence Hyatt currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.
On November 3, 1991, Hyatt stabbed Henri Morlet several times in the rear parking lot of the World Savings Bank off of Church Street in Sonora. The two were acquaintances and had been drinking together that evening in downtown Sonora. At some point in the evening they purchased some beer at a gas station and then walked over behind the World Savings where they consumed it. Hyatt claimed that while behind the bank, Morlet made a “sexual advance” at him. In response, Hyatt beat Morlet by punching and kicking him in the head and body and stabbing him several times. Hyatt then went to a friend’s house and told him about the stabbing. Six hours later, the two returned to the scene of the crime and found that Morlet was still alive. Morlet lay moaning for help and pleading for his life. Hyatt stabbed Morlet several more times and cut his throat, killing him.
On August 14, 1992, Hyatt was sentenced in Tuolumne County Superior Court to 26 years to life in prison.
Hyatt had a previous parole hearing on October 29, 2014, and the Board of Parole found him suitable for parole at that time. Governor Brown reversed that decision on March 11, 2015. Generally a Governor’s reversal is an automatic three year denial. Hyatt should not be eligible for another parole hearing until 2019.