Sacto 9-1-1
March 24, 2011
El Dorado County pot grower loses parole bid over shootings

By Bee Staff

An El Dorado County marijuana grower who was convicted of the attempted murders of his brother-in-law and his nephew has lost his bid for a parole, the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office said.

A state Parole Board panel ruled Tuesday that Silvestre Gonzalez, now 49, could not apply for another parole for 10 years, said Deputy District Attorney Jamie Verwayen, who appeared at the hearing on behalf of the DA's Office and the victims' family.

The victims had innocently wandered near Silvestre Gonzalez' pot grow and a guard shot them.

Gonzalez was convicted of two counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms, plus an additional year for each term, The Bee reported.

Gonzalez armed a 78-year-old laborer, Luis Lopez Arriaga, and told him to shoot anyone who came near Gonzalez' marijuana garden.

On Oct. 8, 2000, Arriaga shot and nearly killed William "Bill" Hunt and his 8-year-old son as the pair walked near a hidden marijuana plot on the Hunt family's vast, forested property near Georgetown.

Arriaga was convicted of two counts of attempted murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison, plus two 25-years-to-life enhancements for using a firearm. Arriaga died while incarcerated, records indicate.

Gonzalez - who was married to Hunt's sister - was the "mastermind" of a clandestine marijuana-growing operation that was run on the Hunts' mountainous property without the family's knowledge, the prosecutor in the case said.

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