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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Murder’s Parole Release Overturned by Governor at DA’s Request

Santa Rosa, CA  –  April 27, 2018  –  After a parole hearing in December 2017, the California Board of Prison Terms decided to release 68-year-old Larry Bunke for the 1982 murder of his wife, Linda. Bunke and his wife were separated at the time of the murder. The night before Linda’s murder, Bunke broke into the garage of her residence while she was away and waited for her return. He surprised her when she entered the home in the morning, confronted her at the front door, then pursued her outside as she tried to flee the residence. Mrs. Bunke began screaming, and Bunke beat her with his fists until she fell unconscious. He then left the scene, only to return minutes later after realizing that he had beat her so badly that he had broken bones in his own hand. He returned to the residence and carried Linda back into the house. Once inside, Bunke continued to beat his wife with his belt as she lay unconscious on the floor of their kitchen. She never regained consciousness, and died 5 days later of multiple traumatic head injuries.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Anne Masterson from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office appeared at the parole hearing, as did multiple members of the victim’s family, to oppose his release. After the board granted parole, District Attorney Jill Ravitch, as well as multiple supporters amongst the victim’s family and friends, sent letters to the Governor’s office requesting that he reverse the board’s decision. 

On Monday, April 23, Governor Edmund Brown signed a letter doing just that, finding that Bunke lacks insight into why he murdered his wife, and that he continues to pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the community.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch made the following statement: “We are relieved and pleased that Governor Brown realized that Mr. Bunke still poses a real threat to this community. Mr. Bunke committed a heinous act of violence against his wife, and has demonstrated little if any insight into his actions, despite over 30 years of incarceration.” The victim’s family was overjoyed at that decision, and made the following statement through the District Attorney’s office: “We just want to extend our gratitude for everyone who assisted the Governor in making this decision, and we hope that more time in prison will help Mr. Bunke get the help he needs.”

Bunke will eligible for parole again in early 2019.

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Contact Information

Joe Langenbahn
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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