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Convicted Murderer Endorses Contra Costa County District Attorney Candidate

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- A man who wants to be the new District Attorney in Contra Costa County is getting an endorsement from a convicted murderer.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to using his campaign funds for personal expenses.

Now the search is on for replacements and endorsements are coming from all over the place, including San Quentin State Prison.

The county has received 12 applications for district attorney, totaling nearly 200 pages. But one document stands out.

A letter from prisoner Coby Phillips, who is vouching for prosecutor Tom Kensok, who put him away for 100 years to life for murder.

Federal D. Glover is the Chairman of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

He said, "This would be a first."

The endorsement begins, "I want you to know I have huge respect for you. I know your ethics and morals are true. I believe your #1 priority is keeping civilians safe and to get justice for victims."

Then, the endorsement from inmate number bd2742 continues, "The best thing CoCo County could do is move you over here and you would be a great D.A. There is some smart Deputy District Attorney's there but if anyone else had my case, I would of been out long ago."

Kensok declined to be interviewed, but wrote in an email, "Because of his long relationship with the criminal justice system in Contra Costa County, which includes older family members, Phillips...had a unique vantage point from which to judge the quality of attorneys and judges in the system."

The inmate's letter ends with, "You better stay sharp cuz we both know trial #3 will happen. Please tell Miss Knox she did an awesome job with turd bag. Respectfully, Coby."

Glover said, "I found it very compelling."

It worked, too.

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors narrowed the field from 12 applicants down to five.

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff listed the names, "Judge Diana Becton, Judge Danielle Douglas, Mr. Paul Graves, Mr. Thomas Kensok and Mr. Patrick Vanier."

That's right, Tom Kensok is one of the finalists.

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