A California court has denied parole to Jim Gordon, the Grammy-winning drummer serving a life sentence for killing his mother in 1983. Most famously, Gordon was drummer of Eric Clapton’s band Derek and The Dominos on the song Layla. Clapton shares a songwriting credit with Gordon for the song.
The decision, by the Board of Parole Hearings, marks Gordon’s 10th denial. His family and legal counsel have asked the state not to grant him parole.
At the height of his career, Gordon was diagnosed with schizophrenia. His doctors reportedly misdiagnosed his schizophrenia and instead treated him for alcohol abuse.
In 1983, he attacked his 72-year-old mother with a hammer before fatally stabbing her with a butcher knife. He claimed that a voice told him to kill her.
In 1984 he was sentenced to 16 years to life, and has been jailed at California Medical Facility in Vacaville ever since.
As Gordon told Rolling Stone in 1985 of the murder, “I had no interest in killing her. … I had no choice. It was so matter-of-fact, like I was being guided like a zombie.” His trial attorney later told The Washington Post that Gordon “truly believed he was acting in self-defense.”
Gordon has served 34 years of his life term, and will next be eligible for parole in 2021.
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