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Ex-CHP officer who killed San Diego State student to stay behind bars

January 11, 2012 |  3:20 pm

Craig Peyer and Cara Knott

The state parole board Wednesday rejected parole for a former California Highway Patrol officer who murdered a San Diego State student in 1986.

The board ruled that Craig Peyer, 61, will not be eligible for parole for another 15 years in the killing of 20-year-old Cara Knott. The ruling came at a hearing at the state prison in San Luis Obispo, where Peyer is an inmate.

Knott's family members told the board of the emotional agony that the killing inflicted on the family.

Knott was driving home to El Cajon on the night of Dec. 27, 1986, after seeing her boyfriend in Escondido when Peyer pulled her over on Interstate 15 at the Mercy Road exit. He had followed her for 10 miles.

Evidence indicated that Peyer had a habit of stopping young women and making suggestive comments. He was arrested after several of those women, horrified by Knott's death, told detectives about being stopped at the same freeway location.

Peyer was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced in 1988 to 25 years to life in prison. Knott had been strangled and her skull was smashed from being hurled off a freeway bridge to the ground 100 feet below.

San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis opposed parole, saying that Peyer continues to pose a threat to the public if released. He has twice before been denied parole.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego and Fox 5 San Diego

Photos: Craig Peyer and Cara Knott

Credit: Fox 5 San Diego