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For Immediate Release

Double Murderer Denied Parole

Santa Rosa,CA | February 17, 2022

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate William Barton, 66 years old of Santa Rosa, was denied parole following a hearing held earlier today at California State Prison, Sacramento.

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was a senseless and tragic double-murder that ripped a hole in the victims’ family. We are pleased that the Board agreed with us that the inmate should remain incarcerated in state prison at this time.”

The inmate was serving a prison sentence that resulted from a robbery and shooting of two farm workers on March 23, 1975. The victims, 40-year-old Sabino Sotelo and his son 16-year-old Gregorio Sotelo, were shot by the defendant multiple times with a .22 caliber handgun. The victims were farm workers at Martini Ranch and had purchased gas and alcohol for the inmate and his three associates in exchange for a ride home from where they were near Grand Avenue in Santa Rosa. After the driver stopped the car on Moon Mountain Road at the entrance to the ranch, the inmate demanded money from Sabino Sotelo. When he did not comply, the inmate shot his son, and then shot Sabino. The inmate and his associates removed the victims’ wallets and left the scene. After being arrested and charged with the murders, Barton pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and admitted a sentencing enhancement for using a firearm in the commission of the murder. He was then sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Sonoma County Municipal Court Judge James E. Jones, Jr., who heard the preliminary hearing on September 15, 1975, was quoted in the Press Democrat at the time stating, “The evidence here shows that this man (Barton) is an animal and should be exterminated."

Following the parole hearing The Board ruled that the defendant would next be eligible for parole in three years.

Deputy District Attorney Jane Murray appeared at the hearing on behalf of the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.