A man serving prison time for fatally stabbing a Foster City woman in 1990 was denied parole this week, a year after a previous hearing board granted him a shot at release.
The two-person Board of Parole Hearings concluded Thursday that Abel Leo Sapp, 45, is not suitable for release and denied him a new hearing for three years. It was the third hearing for Sapp who is serving a sentence of 26 years to life at California State Prison at Solano.
On June 20, 2012, a parole board composed of two different members had a different opinion and granted him parole. However, like all parole grants, Sapp’s case went up for gubernatorial review and Gov. Jerry Brown reversed the board decision.
Sapp was convicted in August 1991 of first-degree murder and the use of a knife in the July 10, 1990 stabbing inside a Foster City apartment. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Sapp, a transient, confronted the woman in her home but never provided a more concrete motive for the murder.
Wagstaffe said Sapp also stole items after the killing, including a photo of the victim in a negligee. He later claimed he stole the household items to sell and finance an escape.
At trial and his first parole hearing in 2007, Sapp denied committing the murder or having any responsibility in any fashion, Wagstaffe said.
At his next two hearings — both the one when he was granted parole and the most recent denial — Sapp changed his story to admit he was at the woman’s home watching television when she started teasing him about being gay, Wagstaffe said.
“He said she was joking around but what she didn’t know is that he knew he was gay since he was 10 but hid it because he lived in a fundamentalist, religious home,” Wagstaffe said.
After the woman pressed him, Sapp reportedly said he snapped and stabbed her, hit her in the face and finally cut her throat.
Deputy District Attorney Mary Allhiser, who prosecuted Sapp, vehemently opposed his release at all of his hearings, Wagstaffe said.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102