SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz District Attorney Bob Lee announced today that Solano State Prison inmate Jerry Lynn Taylor waived his hearing to determine if he was suitable to be released on parole from his life sentence for the brutal 1974 murder of Ronald Travnick. As a result of this waiver, his parole hearing will not occur until next year. Before Taylor started serving his current life sentence, he was required to serve a sentence following his plea to voluntary manslaughter in Amador County.
In Santa Cruz County, Taylor lured Travnick to his house in the Felton area where he shot him five times with a .45 caliber handgun and placed Travnick’s body in the bed of his truck. Taylor then drove to an isolated location where he buried Travnick’s body, which has never been located. Witnesses with information on that murder were too fearful to speak with law enforcement until Taylor was arrested and incarcerated in Amador County for the murder of Rudiger Hack in 1984.
In Amador County, Taylor went to Hack’s home and shot him in the head at point blank range in a fit of anger and jealousy because he was having an affair with Taylor’s estranged wife. Taylor then wrapped Hack in a blanket and garbage bags and loaded his body in his truck. Upon arriving at his chosen location, Taylor then brutally dismembered Hack’s body, burying each part in a different place. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter during his murder trial prosecuted by the Amador County District Attorney’s Office.
Taylor has habitually lied about who committed both murders and blamed various different people. Because he waived the hearing, he was not given an opportunity to speak. Assistant District Attorney Celia Rowland was permitted to present the People’s objection to any release and Ms. Terry Costa, Travnick’s sister, was also permitted to have her statement read. Other members of Travnick’s and Hack’s family did not attend because of ill health, fear of retaliation, trauma at the prospect of reliving the murders or being deceased.
The waiver came as a tremendous disappointment to both victims’ family members due to the pain and trauma of preparing for a hearing such as this. Also during the proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Celia Rowland asked if a member of the Board would ask Taylor to disclose the location of Travnick’s remains. The Board was not able to respond because there was no formal hearing. However, Taylor’s waiver was placed on the record and the parties were dismissed.