Governor Pardons Ventura County Man Who Spent 39 Years Behind Bars For Double Murder

Nov 22, 2017

The governor has issued a full and unconditional pardon for a Ventura County man who spent 39 years in prison after being convicted of a double murder in Simi Valley.

Ventura County prosecutors and Simi Valley Police asked the governor to take the action to free Craig Coley. Investigators say tests not previously available showed that it wasn’t Coley’s DNA on some key evidence, but someone else’s.

Rhonda Wicht and her four year old son Donald were murdered in her Simi Valley home in 1978. Coley was Wicht’s ex-boyfriend.

Prosecutors say the recent investigation shows the now 70 year old man was factually innocent of the crimes. On Monday, they joined forces with police to call for Wicht’s release. On Thursday afternoon, they announced that the governor had granted the pardon, and that Wicht has already been released.