Home » Murderer Of Martinez Police Officer Granted Parole Without Notice To Department

Murderer Of Martinez Police Officer Granted Parole Without Notice To Department


Martinez Police Sgt. Tom Tarantino – Killed in the line of duty in 1973.

The following is from the Martinez Police Dept.:

This year, April 21st will mark the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martinez Police Sgt. Tom Tarantino who was killed in the line of duty in 1973.

Recently the Martinez Police Department learned that his murderer, Curtis Morrison (A-90679), was granted parole without our department being notified by the California Parole Board of the hearing as required by the California Penal Code.


The members of the department did not have the opportunity to express their concerns about this decision.

If you were affected by the murder of Sgt. Tarantino, and you would like to write a letter to Gov. Newsom opposing the parole of Curtis Morrison or express concern about why the Martinez Police Department was not allowed representation at that hearing, you are welcome to send a letter to him at the following address:

Parole Team
Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, CA 95814

Sgt. Thomas Tarantino
End of Watch (EOW) April 21st, 1973



Cautiously Informed January 19, 2023 - 10:48 AM - 10:48 AM

Nancy Jr., aka Gavin, is more concerned and cares more for criminals. I’m sure he considers it violation of the murderers rights to inform the Martinez Police Department.

Badge1104 January 19, 2023 - 10:54 AM - 10:54 AM

I’m sorry, but Gov Newsom won’t listen or change his mind. He’s on the self-centered course and owned by the rich crazies libs in the state. He really doesn’t care about the average person. He’s in outer space orbit
It’s a shame that the state does all this dirty back dealing hiding it from the public. But you folks out there re-elected him so you’re getting what you voted for?

AJR January 19, 2023 - 1:11 PM - 1:11 PM

La-mo Larry bringing the heat!!!! Mic drop

WC January 19, 2023 - 1:35 PM - 1:35 PM

The governor can stop parole in case you missed that one.

Dr. Jellyfinger January 19, 2023 - 3:12 PM - 3:12 PM

Thank goodness we have Larry here to split hairs and deliver us a daily dose of minutia.

I think the “Newsom changing his mind” comment was referring to Newsom’s well known preference for setting felons free rather than keeping them incarcerated. Newsom’s failure to involve himself in that decision simply reinforces what Badge1104 said about him.

Tom January 23, 2023 - 7:32 PM - 7:32 PM

It actually has to go theough the executive committee to certify legality of the decision before it goes to Newsom’s desk.

Rollo Tomasi January 19, 2023 - 5:20 PM - 5:20 PM

Since splitting hairs is the game du jour, BADGE1104 never mentioned that Newsom granted the parole.

The Fearless Spectator January 19, 2023 - 6:03 PM - 6:03 PM

Newsom has soundly demonstrated his preference for criminals. He doesn’t seem to identify with victims whatsoever. Perhaps that lack of empathy is the result of a charmed life, or of sociopathic tendencies. These things have a way of floating to the surface eventually. Time will tell.

Jay Crawford January 19, 2023 - 5:22 PM - 5:22 PM

Once a grant of parole is “final” the governor has 30 days to act on it. If he ignores it, the grant stands. If he says no then the prisoner gets a new hearing within 18 months. Both acting and not acting are decisions. The article does not say if the 30 period for parole has passed. The reader is left with the impression that the felon is going to be released. If that impression is true and the Gov declined to act, then the original statement that the governor won’t change his mind is accurate.

Tom January 23, 2023 - 12:25 PM - 12:25 PM

Gavin Newsom did not make this decision. It still has to go before his desk for approval. Surprisingly, Gov. Newsom has a track record (in the hundreds) of reversing parole of violent murderers. This is why we hope enough people writes him in time the parole reaches his desk in a few weeks. We need this granted parole to be one of the ones he overturns.

Art January 19, 2023 - 11:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Nothing surprises me in this cesspool of a State run by some of the most illogical and moronic people. You get what you vote for!!!

Sandy G January 19, 2023 - 11:06 AM - 11:06 AM

Don’t bother writing Gavin Newsom. My brother was kidnapped, robbed and murdered in 1988. We had a large number of letters, faxes and emails delivered to his office in 2019. One of the murderers was released then, and the second one is due to be released this year.

Future Catlady January 19, 2023 - 12:37 PM - 12:37 PM

I am sorry for your loss . The aftermath must be gut-wrenching for you & your family.

Bill January 19, 2023 - 11:21 AM - 11:21 AM

Maybe a little background to this story since it was almost 50 years ago.

Reality says… January 19, 2023 - 12:03 PM - 12:03 PM

Google it!

On April 21, 1973, Officer Tarantino responded to a medical assist on Highway 4, a half mile west of Alhambra Avenue. The person Officer Tarantino was attempting to aid attacked him and a struggle ensued. The suspect was able to gain control of Officer Tarantino’s duty weapon and shoot him. Officer Tarantino was transported to the hospital, but later succumbed to the life threatening wounds. Officer Tarantino leaves behind a wife and two children.

S January 19, 2023 - 12:20 PM - 12:20 PM
and the killer was out on parole at that time for a homicide…
The Great State of California is going to give dude a 3rd chance?

PO'd January 19, 2023 - 11:22 AM - 11:22 AM

Why is anybody surprised? The Marxist element runs deep in California political issues, and an anti-police
bias is just manifesting itself here. Nobody will be called to the carpet over this, as it is all going to plan.
As long as the radical socialist democrats run the show, anti police actions will/have become the norm.

Kentucky Derby January 19, 2023 - 11:42 AM - 11:42 AM

A slap in the face to law enforcement. Pathetic.

Dawg January 19, 2023 - 12:13 PM - 12:13 PM

At the time of the murder, Morrison was on parole for a manslaughter conviction, and he was in possession of a gun that was used in another killing. Eye witnesses said he shot the officer in the stomach, then pointed the gun at his head and fired again. Morrison claims two Hells Angels rode up on motorcycles and shot the cop, then rode off. Officer Tarantino was the first Martinez police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Source: The Mercury News.

Ripley January 19, 2023 - 1:11 PM - 1:11 PM

Having read the entire court case from evidence to witness testimony it’s unbelievable that Morrison would have ever been paroled. He was a convicted felon on parole for manslaughter and in possession of a gun at the time of this incident.

Henry January 19, 2023 - 1:44 PM - 1:44 PM

Who has the vote? The murdered office or the convicted murder?

Yoyohop January 19, 2023 - 2:13 PM - 2:13 PM

So he’s in his 70s or 80s now. Is he really still a threat?

Ripley January 19, 2023 - 2:43 PM - 2:43 PM

@YOYOHOP- So based on your thought process we should be releasing all inmates over 70 or 80?

It’s not weather he is a threat, he took a life in the commission of a crime, actually more then one if you add his previous conviction. His punishment should be death IMO, but since Newsome doesn’t agree with the death penalty loss of freedom for the remainder of his life is what he should have been given.

What about a 70 yr old that takes a life? Let them out at 80?

yoyohop January 19, 2023 - 5:11 PM - 5:11 PM

@ Riply No, you are inventing your own hypothetical there. But how well a person can reintegrate into society has ALWAYS been a consideration.

Not everyone shares your enthusiasm for the death penalty – especially those wrongly convicted because of faulty DNA evidence. If an innocent person is put to death because of a lab error – how is that different from manslaughter?

A life sentence is 25 to 30 years. Meaning that under our legal system, he has paid for his crime. The logic underlying our justice system is not just punishment but also rehabilitation. Is it impossible that a man can be redeemed after 50 years?

Ripley January 19, 2023 - 8:31 PM - 8:31 PM

@YOYOHOP- what does DNA have to do with this case? Absolutely nothing! Have you read the court documents, there were witnesses..people like you are the reason career criminals are continually given multiple chances to continue their chosen path of victimizing others.
I believe there are cases that justify the death penalty but I understand there many against it. A life sentence should be a life sentence

Tom January 23, 2023 - 12:45 PM - 12:45 PM

life sentences are not 25-30 years. That is the time a “lifer” can seek parole. Morrison has been denied parole over a dozen times over the years. The circumstances of his crime has garnered such determinations in the past. One of the main reasons for this granting by the two-person panel was because of current health issues Morrison has and the fiscal strain on the penal system. Ironically, it will still be the state that will be funding medical assistance to Morrison thru Medi-Cal if he is eventually realesed.

yoyohop January 19, 2023 - 5:37 PM - 5:37 PM

Don’t think people are falsely accused? Take a look at the Ramparts Scandal. Some of the cops involved were the same that handled evidence in the OJ case and hence part of the reason for his acquittal.

“More than 70 police officers either assigned to or associated with the Rampart CRASH unit were initially implicated in various forms of misconduct, including unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of false evidence, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and the covering up of evidence of these activities.[1] As a result of the falsified evidence and police perjury, 106 prior criminal convictions were overturned” -wikipedia

Ripley January 19, 2023 - 8:37 PM - 8:37 PM

@YOYOHOP again, have you taken the time to read the court case? There were witnesses…throwing in crap about Rampart to try and somehow strengthen your weak argument shows your true issue, a negative view of law enforcement … no reason to continue this discussion, your lost.

yoyohop January 20, 2023 - 10:20 AM - 10:20 AM

Ripley, I am arguing what the law actually is, you’re lamenting over what you want the law to be. A life sentence is 25 years. He served that term and was deemed to no longer present a threat to society. Thus according to the our system of justice, he should be allowed parole. I don’t have to read the case files, these decisions have already been made by people who have devoted way more time to the matter then I ever could – the jurors and the parole board.

Your argument seems to be that he committed murder and should thus be murdered himself, or at the least, never set free. Your opinion is valid, but its not the law and it disregards a fundamental principle of our legal system – that a criminal can be rehabilitated.

So I’ll ask my question again, rephrasing in the hope you won’t dodge it this time… Is it impossible for a criminal, even a murderer to be rehabilitated?

Yoyohop January 20, 2023 - 1:06 PM - 1:06 PM

And just a reminder the only person killed on Jan 6 was a civilian, shot in the back by a Capitol police officer. If there wasn’t video of the incident, I wonder how the story might have been changed, how many witnesses might have come forward to say the unarmed woman was a threat, etc.

Btw- Still waiting on video all the police footage of that day to be revealed. But always trust police right? 😘

Rollo Tomasi January 20, 2023 - 3:43 PM - 3:43 PM

Well, Ashli Babbitt was shot in the neck, not the back. But who’s counting?

Fed Up January 19, 2023 - 2:45 PM - 2:45 PM

Are you kidding? This POS should have gotten the ultimate penalty, best case Solitary at Pelican Bay for life!

Sandy G January 19, 2023 - 3:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Rollo Tomasi January 19, 2023 - 5:24 PM - 5:24 PM

There are many 70 – 80 year-olds perfectly capable of aiming a pistol at someone and taking their life. This scumbag has shown a history of being willing to do it. He should have been executed and buried UNDER the prison.

Animal Lover January 20, 2023 - 8:13 AM - 8:13 AM

He’s not a threat as long as he lives with/near your family.

shan January 19, 2023 - 2:37 PM - 2:37 PM

so, ballistics on the weapon used were or weren’t done? wonder why the guy needed to gain possession of a gun from an officer if he had his own?; I mean, it sounds like this Morrison guy planned the whole thing out, but then, wasn’t exactly on his game and ready when the time came. sloppy all the way around, and while I don’t condone the violent thing personally, I do have to wonder about the equivalency of facts involved on both sides that would lead up to such a “plan”…just because one acts a part, doesn’t always mean they represent the same when not. Forgive me for saying so, but the Martinez PD has allowed the most disgusting illegal, inhumane, and unjust instances just in my lifetime with backs turned as well as eyes, and to me, that’s just a shady way of supporting internal corruption and smiling at us while you do it. I’ve never heard of this case until now, and I worked for the county in Martinez, and have a very good acquaintance who IS within the dept doing the right thing for the worst of cases. Can’t help but wonder about the millions of questions this sparks, but regardless, and at this point, a HUGE violation was committed in his release (raising even more questions!) and that decision does put the current force at a disadvantage and potentially dangerous set of circumstances which is obviously a not ok. However, being the victim of a crime myself, I’d like to ask why these same forms of consideration to victims require signing up by the victim, if they even are aware they can do that, and not MADE to happen as this indicates/ So wheres the stats on the fair and just procedure to ALL victims, not just the ones dressed differently?… The entitlement to safety is supposed to be an equal holding in all accounts, is it not? just saying…all opinions and theories aside, cuz I got ya there, why would one expect such, yadayada…but facts and rights, at least at this point-still exist, so…ya…but wow…terrible entirely for sure. The ENTIRE parole board, as well as any relevant person involved in the paper passing of this guy, should be relieved of their duties effective immediately for the disregard to such a KNOWN to their job responsibility that directly extends to the safety of the people! Guaranteed this is not their first time, this was a team effort, wholly supported, or prob a gagged forced colleague…but someone should be already on the history of cases this board has released over the years. This one just happens to hold a relative title not often disregarded as such. interesting thought provoker, but corruption in the county as I know it to be will make anybody sick to learn about. it’s only a matter of time, but don’t count on a change in our lifetime. it’s sick. but how many losses are there they really after anyway? its a Lil ironic the internal relation of public service officers at varying capacities involved here as a whole, and how the issue kind of makes a catastrophic seemingly intentional twist of disregarding the right of the ones who should be on the same team no matter what-but that’s only if they WERE doing their job in good faith. I forgot that part…silly me…what a great display of how screwed they are, and how much reform is needed. Fire this panel. who are they paid to protect? a fine display of being unfit to carry out their duties.

Lala January 21, 2023 - 9:20 PM - 9:20 PM

If you don’t know about the case, then educate yourself on it. The officer made contact with this person and removed a firearm from him, a firearm that had been previously used in another shooting. He took the officers duty weapon, shot and killed him and until this day denies the events that transpired on that day. He’s never taken account of his own actions.

Tom January 23, 2023 - 12:38 PM - 12:38 PM

Tom’s death in the line of duty is well known in MTZ. Not only were the K9 Trials named in his honor for many years held at the Alhambra football field, Tarantino Dr at the Waterfront is named in honor of him as well. When MTZPD Sgt. Starzyk was killed in 2008, being the second MPD killed in the line of duty, Tom’s death was again highlighted in the media. As much as Tom’s death has been highlighted thru even more facets over the years, I’m saddened that you have never heard of him or this case especially if you worked in MTZ.

To answer the gun question… Tom removed Morrison’s pistol and placed it in his pocket as he was arresting him. Tom’s service revolver was easier access during the struggle. Morrison planned none of this other than he was a career criminal not wanting to go back to prison. Morrison was drunk when Tom came to assist him as a stranded motorist. Being drunk would have violated his parole and thus the incident ensued.

Jvp January 19, 2023 - 2:43 PM - 2:43 PM

Not surprised, the man that molested my daughter and her friend was released during covid….. A year and a half short of his mandate of 9 years …..No notification… I only found out because I look him up a couple times a year to make sure he’s still there.this time he was no longer in the system. But found him on Megan law website for sex offenders living in Fairfield. Smfh

Original G January 19, 2023 - 2:44 PM - 2:44 PM

When prison emptying AB-109 passed in 2011 first inmates on prison transport back to counties they came from were inmates requiring ongoing high dollar medical treatment and inmates with disabilities.
In short shoving state’s costs down onto all 58 counties.
Suspect this parole is nothing more than state unloading another inmate . . . . .

domo January 19, 2023 - 5:19 PM - 5:19 PM

Outrageous… hope al the voters that backed Newsom, Bonta and Becton are pleased … I’m not

WC---Creeker January 20, 2023 - 10:25 AM - 10:25 AM

…”as required by the California Penal Code.” so who in the department is being reprimanded for not even following the rules?

The Fearless Spectator January 20, 2023 - 6:58 PM - 6:58 PM

So how exactly is this old murderer expected to fend for himself? A lot has changed since he was incarcerated. Remember Brooks Hatlen?

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