On Tuesday at the California Institution for Women in Corona, a California parole board issued a three-year denial for June Gravlee, 65, for the 1987 murder of her husband. 

In 1990, Gravlee was convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of murder for financial gain. In the penalty phase of the trial, the Tulare County jury recommended a death sentence. However, the trial judge at the time modified the verdict to a penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Her sentence was again modified in 2018 when former Governor Jerry Brown commuted her sentence, the reduction of which made her eligible for parole. 

“Despite a Tulare jury listening to the evidence and deciding death was the appropriate punishment, both a former Tulare County judge and former Governor Brown showed the defendant far more compassion and leniency than she did to her victim,” said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward. “I applaud the Parole board for not releasing her, but this case is a prime example of why we must have truth in sentencing in California.” J

Gravlee and her husband Andrew Gravlee were married in October of 1986. At the time of the marriage, she was over 35 years younger than her husband. On July 17, 1987, at their home in Tulare, Gravlee and her brother Gary Smith stabbed and beat Andrew, killing him. The pair wrapped his body in a tarp and drove him in his pickup to a ravine in the hills near Kettleman City, where they buried him. 

For the next few months, Gravlee collected her husband’s pension and social security checks, and even applied for additional benefits. Gravlee explained her husband’s absence by telling people he had left town suddenly.

Recommended for you