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Parents of murdered teen Chelsea King won't sue state

January 7, 2011 |  5:38 pm

Chelsea The parents of murdered San Diego County teenager Chelsea King said Friday that they will not sue the state of California over its failure to put the sex offender who later killed their daughter back in prison after he violated his parole for an earlier attack on a young girl.

Brent and Kelly King had filed a claim with the state, often a precursor to a lawsuit. The claim was not approved.

In a news conference, the Kings said  a lawsuit would be a long and difficult process and require them to relive the agony of their daughter's murder. Chelsea, 17, an honor student at Poway High School, was abducted in late February while jogging near Lake Hodges.

John Gardner III pleaded guilty to murdering Chelsea King and an Escondido teenager and is serving a life sentence. He had served four years in prison for attacking a 13-year-old girl; although he violated his parole on several occasions he was allowed to remain free, officials said.

The Kings, working with Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-La Jolla), convinced the state Legislature to pass what is called Chelsea's Law calling for tougher sentences and better monitoring of sex criminals who target young victims. The bill was signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Kings said they hope to meet with Gov. Jerry Brown about additional moves to safeguard children from sex criminals.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Chelsea King