Gov. Gavin Newsom has commuted the sentences of a Sacramento man convicted in the 2006 shooting death of a relative and a Placer County man convicted in a robbery from the same year.
The move came as Newsom’s office announced 17 pardons, 15 commutations and one medical reprieve.
The Sacramento case involved Andrey Bernik, who in 2006 went with family members to confront a business associate, the governor’s office said.
A fight erupted and “as Mr. Bernik attempted to flee, he fired a shot from his vehicle and inadvertently struck and killed his own relative,” Newsom’s office said.
Bee archives show the victim was Yury Dovgan, 19, who died after a fight in the parking lot of Carl’s Jr. on Watt Avenue and Antelope Road during a dispute that involved as many as 30 people.
“Mr. Bernik was 28 years old at the time of the crime and is now 44,” Newsom’s commutation message stated. “He has been incarcerated tor 13 years.
“While in prison, Mr. Bernik has dedicated himself to his self-improvement. He has engaged in self-help programming, including a dog training program, and completed vocational training. Correctional staff have commended Mr. Bernik for his humility, kindness, and deep commitment to rehabilitation.
“Mr. Bernik committed a serious crime that took the victim’s life. Since then, Mr. Bernik has demonstrated a commitment to his self-improvement and rehabilitation.”
Newsom commuted his sentence to 15 years and said “Mr. Bernik merits an earlier opportunity to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings so it can determine whether he is suitable for parole.”
“This act of clemency for Mr. Bernik does not minimize or forgive his conduct or the harm it caused,” the governor added. “It does recognize the work he has done since to transform himself.”
The Placer case involved Richard Mahorney, who committed a 2006 robbery and was sentenced to 40 years to life, Newsom’s office said.
“Mr. Mahorney was 45 years old at the time of the crime and is now 61,” Newsom wrote. “He has been incarcerated for 15 years.
“While in prison, Mr. Mahorney has dedicated himself to his rehabilitation. Mr. Mahorney has maintained an exemplary disciplinary record. He has participated in self-help programming, completed college courses, and earned three vocations. Mr. Mahorney has been commended by correctional staff for his excellent communication skills and strong work ethic.”
The Board of Parole Hearings and the California Supreme Court recommended clemency for Mahorney, Newsom’s office said, and the governor “concluded that Mr. Mahorney merits an earlier opportunity to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings so it can determine whether he is suitable for parole.”