Daniel Wehner executed two UC Davis students in 1980
(Woodland, CA) – March 28, 2019 - Convicted murderer Daniel Wehner was denied parole for the twelfth time on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by a two-commissioner panel of the Board of Parole Hearings. The all day hearing took place at the California Mens’ Colony prison in San Luis Obispo, CA.
In March, 1980, Mr. Wehner brutally murdered his former girlfriend Robin Ehlman and her friend John Manville at the Castilian Apartments in Davis. Robin was 19 years old when she was murdered and John, a UC Davis veterinarian student, was 25. Mr. Wehner had been stalking Robin and had physically and emotionally abused her during their relationship, causing her to lose consciousness after choking her on at least one occasion.
On June 19, 1981, after Mr. Wehner agreed to a plea to the two murders, a Yolo County judge sentenced Mr. Wehner to 27-years-to-life for the murders. A court appointed psychiatrist interviewed Mr. Wehner’s family prior to the sentencing hearing. Family members described him as “irresponsible,” having an “explosive temper,” and “violent.” “He had a winning personality and charmed older people but had not an ounce of sincerity.” Mr. Wehner’s family described Robin as “soft and gentle.”
On Wednesday, Commissioner Brian Roberts and Deputy Commissioner Ken Allen both agreed that Mr. Wehner still posed a continued risk to public safety should he be released from prison. In explaining his decision, Commissioner Roberts stated “we gave significant weight to the elephant in the room, that you claim you never harmed Robin prior to the life crime. We found that incredulous and this statement is a gross minimization.” Commissioner Allen speaking directly to Mr. Wehner, said “your denial of the prior domestic violence given the sick obsessive relationship you had with her is disturbing.”
Eight family members from the Manville and Ehlman families attended the hearing. John Manville’s older sister as well as Robin Ehlman’s father and younger sister, who was 14 at the time of the murders, made powerful statements. Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven represented the District Attorney’s Office at the hearing. Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel and retired District Attorney Investigator Jon Updergraff, who was a Davis police officer on his first week on the job at the time of the murders, wrote letters in opposition to Mr. Wehner’s release.
Victim Advocate Christine Ward from the I-CAN Crime Victims Assistance Network attended the hearing to support the families and read the letters of Chief Pytel and Mr. Updergraff. I-CAN, based in Sacramento, provides victims and survivors emotional support, information, resources and referrals. Chief Pytel’s letter stated that he has lived in Davis his entire life and although “I was fairly young when Mr. Wehner committed his crimes, I still have memories of the terror Mr. Wehner brought to my community. I have no doubt that Mr. Wehner’s release will do nothing but raise the fears of the citizens seeking solace of peace, order and justice.” Ms. Ward in reading Mr. Updergraff’s letter stated that he recalled these murders as being the most gruesome he had seen in over 30 years in law enforcement. When he arrived at the apartment, Mr. Manville was not yet dead. The gurgling sounds he heard left an indelible impression on him.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated that he is proud of the efforts of his Lifer Parole Division. “I can’t imagine the pain these families continue to endure. It’s immeasurable. We will continue to do everything we can to support the Ehlman and Manville families. We will continue to remember and honor Robin and John. That is the very least we can do for these families and all families who have survived similar tragedies.”
Daniel Wehner will be eligible for parole again in three years.