University of Southern California

Luci Ondrasek

Luci Ondrasek has been incarcerated at the California Institution for Women for 31 years. She was found suitable for parole on March 9, 2011, and is now waiting for the Governor to review the Board’s grant of parole.

Luci was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and had a close relationship with her parents and extended family. Between the ages of eight and thirteen, however, her uncle sexually molested her. Luci’s aunt told her not to tell anyone of the abuse, especially not her parents, for fear that Luci’s father would harm, or even kill her uncle.

Left to deal with her victimization alone, Luci turned to alcohol as a way to deal with the pain. By high school, Luci was drinking hard liquor on a daily basis. After moving to California, she met her second husband and co-defendant in the life crime, Steven Ondrasek. They moved into a motel where they drank and socialized regularly with the other tenants, many of whom also had problems with drugs and alcohol.

On April 21, 1979, the day of the commitment offense, Luci was so heavily intoxicated from the drinking she had been doing throughout the day that she blacked-out at some point after going to the liquor store and does not have a clear memory of the occurrences of the commitment offense. The next thing she remembers after coming back from the liquor store is being awakened the next morning by the police and being taken to jail.

Though Luci does not have direct memory of the commitment offense, she has always taken full responsibility for the crime. She recognizes that she made the choice to drink and participate in the life crime and is deeply remorseful for the suffering and loss of the victim’s life.  She also realizes that her actions not only affected the victim, but the victim’s family and friends as well.

In finding Luci suitable for parole, the Board of Parole Hearings acknowledged the realities of alcohol-induced blackouts. The Board noted that she has maintained the same version of events since she pled guilty to her crime more than three decades ago, and also focused on her most recent psychological evaluation, which found her to present a “low risk for violence in the free community.”  The Board recognized that Luci’s commitment offense was the result of “significant stress in [her] life” and that her “pattern of drinking and [her] pattern of escaping that abuse is consistent with how molestation victims deal with the crime.”

The Board recognized Luci genuine remorse and the fact that she has performed a number of acts to repair the damage she caused. The Board also focused on Luci successfully rehabilitation and sobriety. The Board was impressed that she has not received a single 115-disciplinary violation since 1983 and had remained practically discipline free since her conversion in 1989.  The Board also looked at her extensive participation in a number of programs to help deal with her abusive past, alcohol addiction, and the events that led to her incarceration. Due to her extensive work with P.A.T.C.H., Luci became an ordained minister in 2010.

Finally, the Board noted that Luci has realistic and firm parole plans, as well as a number of marketable skills.  As an ordained minister and a person with thirty years of devotion to spiritual organizations, Luci is an appealing candidate to spiritual institutions.

Luci poses no current danger to society, has an exemplary 31-year disciplinary record while at CIW, and has worked hard to continue to improve herself and her abilities. She has developed significant insight into the decisions and choices that led to the commitment offense. She has taken a number of steps to ensure that she remains a model citizen in the future. The Board of Parole Hearings recognized Luci’s extraordinary achievements and found her suitable for parole.  She is now awaiting a decision from Governor Jerry Brown as to whether her grant of parole will stand.

If you want to help Luci, and make sure she is finally released after more than thirty years of incarceration, write a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking him to affirm the Board’s grant of parole.

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©2017 The Post-Conviction Justice Project