Police Officer's Killer Denied by Pardons Board

The State Pardons Board has denied a request to commute the sentence of John Olausen convicted of the 1979 slaying of Reno Police officer James B. Hoff.

The seven-member board voted unanimously to reject Olausen's request that his sentence be commuted to time served and that he be made immediately eligible for parole. Olausen, who was 18 at the time of the murder, has served more than 28 years in the Nevada prison system for Hoff's murder. He was originally given a death sentence. That sentence was commuted to life without the possibility of parole in 1989.

Olausen was one of four youths charged in the murder. They met Hoff, who was working an undercover drug sting along the Truckee River in west Reno, and stabbed him several times. His body was dumped on Dog Valley Road near the Verdi Summit.

Members of both the Hoff and Olausen family were present at today's hearing. Speaking for the family, Hoff’s step brother, Dennis George, told the panel while Olausen, now 47, had done a number of things in prison to turn himself arounda and that was to be commended he should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Olausen expressed regret for his actions at today's hearings. He described himself on that night as a scared kid, a claim veteran Reno police detective David Jenkins rejected, recounting how carefully planned and rehearsed the attack on Hoff had been. He called Hoff's an "insult to every member of the community" who believed Olausen would never be back out on the streets again.

One of the other men received a death sentence. Edward Wilson is still on Nevada's death row. Two others, Fred Stites and David Lani, are serving life sentences.


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