James “Rusty” Tramel, the former Santa Barbara prep school student convicted 21 years ago for his part in the brutal stabbing murder of a homeless man, gained his freedom this week after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chose not to oppose his parole. Schwarzenegger, who blocked Tramel’s release in the past, accepted the recommendation of the state parole board, whose members were impressed by Tramel’s transformation behind bars. In recent years, Tramel was ordained an Episcopal minister, became engaged to be married – his fiancée was also a minister – and secured a post with a parish near Berkeley. After the murder, Santa Barbara became the flashpoint of a major homeless-rights campaign. Homeless advocates wore pins bearing the last words of the victim: “No, my friend.”

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Manhunt Underway for Third Suspect

Police have been searching since Wednesday evening for three burglary suspects; two are in custody.

Cruces Fire Update

Thursday morning report from County Fire expects full containment by this evening.

Young and Poor in Santa Barbara

Teens gathered for annual summit on safety and wellness.

County Redistricting Measures Head to Ballot

Voters will decide on a commission to change supervisor district boundaries.

Lompoc Approves Cannabis Lounge

City location allows on-site consumption.