01/27/2010

Parole hearing set for 'Onion Field' police killer

Gregory Powell kidnapped and killed an L.A. officer in '63

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Gregory Powell is facing a parole hearing 47 years after he kidnapped and killed a Los Angeles police officer in a case made famous in the book and movie, "The Onion Field."

The Los Angeles Police Protective League opposes the release of the 76-year-old prisoner who has spent most of his life behind bars. He will appear before a parole board Wednesday afternoon in San Luis Obispo.

Powell and a co-defendant, Jimmy Lee Smith, were convicted of kidnapping Officer Ian Campbell during a traffic stop in Hollywood and killing him in an onion field near Bakersfield in March 1963. Their death sentences were commuted to life in prison after the death penalty was briefly outlawed in the 1970s. Smith died in prison in 2007.

The crime was chronicled in Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling book.

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