Archive for January, 2009

Another non-violent/non-serious parolee; arrested in near fatal shooting

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Lodi police search for clues, motive in parolee shooting

Crime/911 – Recordnet.com

January 28, 2009


also by

Suspect name: Stephen Charles Schleimer 

Commitment Offense: Felony Evading (Car chase) – considered non-violent/non-serious crime in California
Age: 33

 

 

LODI – Joshua Hattam took as many as two bullets to the head, but he was still lucid enough to name a suspect.

Roughly three hours later, Lodi police nabbed the alleged gunman as he drove around south Lodi in a shiny black Ford Expedition.

Police on Tuesday booked Stephen Charles Schleimer, 33, into the Lodi City Jail without bail on suspicion of attempted murder.

Hattam was alive late Tuesday but listed in serious condition at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento.

Investigators believe Schleimer broke into Hattam’s East Tokay Street home in the early morning and shot the 36-year-old multiple times – once in the left arm and twice in the head – before fleeing.

Beyond that, police say they aren’t sure what led up to the gunfire. Both Lodi men were parolees, authorities said, and they knew each other.

The incident is still under investigation, said Officer Dale Eubanks, a department spokesman.

About 7 a.m., two people walking in the 200 block of East Tokay Street called 911 after they saw Hattam standing in the road and bleeding from his head.

When police arrived, Hattam told them Schleimer burst into his house and started shooting at him, but he could not explain why, Eubanks said.

Officers spotted Schleimer driving a sport utility vehicle and arrested him without incident just after 10 a.m. in the 200 block of Mulberry Circle.

Schleimer was on parole for leading police on a car chase in 2007, Lodi police Detective Eric Bradley said. Hattam was on parole for a previous drug arrest, Eubanks said.

Investigators Tuesday still were searching for the gun used in the shooting, believed to be a small-caliber weapon.

Contact reporter Daniel Thigpen at (209) 546-8254 or dthigpen@recordnet.com. Visit his blog at

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Parolee Accused Of Burying Gay Senior In Concrete ‘Egg’

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

By On Top Magazine Staff – Published January 26, 2009

A “pen pal” relationship with a prisoner ended in death by asphyxiation and burial inside of a large concrete “egg” for an 80-year-old gay man in California.

This criminal’s committment offense does not fall under the California legal definition of “serious” and/or “violent”. (This particular criminal was under federal parole, so would not be affected by the Governor’s proposal – but expect to see more like him being released from our state prisons without being placed under parole supervision.)

Thomas Jeffrey Brooks, 39, of San Diego has confessed to the killing of Edward Clayton Andrews, who lived in Hemet, a Riverside County community.

Brooks pled not guilty to a charge of murder on November 3. A January 29 preliminary hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to prosecute Brooks.

Andrews was last seen at his home on May 31 and reported missing on June 1 by family members who noticed his gray Saturn Ion missing from his trailer home on the 4200 block of Florida Avenue, while his cat was left behind.

Investigators say Andrews had been one of Brooks’ “pen pals” while serving a four-year sentence in a federal prison in Victorville on child pornography charges. Upon leaving jail, Brooks bee-lined it to his pen pal’s trailer, failing to report to a halfway house, and the two developed a romantic relationship.

Police arrested Brooks on August 8 at a San Diego 15th Street apartment and he was arraigned in November.

Riverside sheriff’s investigators later found that over $90,000 had been drained from the senior’s bank account. One of Andrew’s neighbors said he had received a letter purportedly written by the victim letting him know that he had gone on vacation with Brooks to Europe and South Africa.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, several boarders sharing a house on Alabama Street made a ghastly discovery in September when they cracked into a large concrete “egg,” sculpted by Brooks as the centerpiece of a backyard rock garden, to find a human foot accompanied by the dank stench of a decomposing corpse.

Brooks allegedly asphyxiated Andrews, wrapped him in a blanket and plastic tarp, secured by duct tape and chicken wire, then entombed his remains in the concrete “egg.”

The roommates said they opened the concrete tomb because they had read reports about Brooks and believed he might have stashed some of the missing money in the concrete “egg” he had created for their landlord.

Prosecutors have the option of seeking the death penalty against Brooks.

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Non violent, non serious, non sex offender parolee now killer

Posted on January 17, 2009. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

information obtained from http://www.pacovilla.com and the LA Times online.
In less than 48 hours after the horrific killing of a four year old innocent child in the Los Angeles Rampart Area of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police arrested NON-Violent offender parolee Howard Astorga age 25. State Prison number T70034. Astorga was arrested last night in the Hollenbeck area of Los Angeles. Astorga was under parole supervision for 11351 HS. ( Health and Safety Code- Possession of Illegal Drugs and 10851 VC. ( California Vehicle Code ) Operating a motor vehicle without owners consent. Astorga as per. parole records in a Diamond Street Gang member and his monikers are Little “D” , Mr. Howard and Dopey. Astorga was supervised at the Control Service Level of Parole Supervision and was classified as a NON-VIOLENT Criminal Offender. 

LAPD arrests suspect in killing of 4-year-old boy
3:43 AM, January 16, 2009

Los Angeles police detectives said they had made an arrest in the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old that took place this week south of Echo Park.

Roberto Lopez Jr. was walking with his sister from his home to a local community center when he was hit in the chest by a single gunshot…Investigators say at least one person on foot opened fire Tuesday afternoon on a red car driving south in the 1200 block of Court Street in what was believed to be a gang-related case….Los Angeles police identified Howard Astorga, 25, as the man arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting Roberto Lopez Jr. Astorga is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is currently on parole from state prison after being released in June. Police say he is a gang member whose past crimes include gun and narcotics possession. Police did not release the name of Astorgaʼs gang, saying gangs commit such crimes to gain notoriety… (Full text at LATimes.com)

Astorga was supervised out of the Expo. 11 Parole Unit, Region 3.

The Governor and his staff want to release all non-violent offenders in mass onto the streets with no or limited (Summary Parole) supervision as a way to help balance the budget.

Just last week [DAPO] advised all District Administrators and Parole Unit Supervisors in Region 3 to review all active parole supervision cases and reduce classification scores even those that are documented gang members and associates. All were also advised to discharge as many active cases as possible from continued parole supervision. [DAPO] refused to put the directive in writing.

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There’s no evidence Jessica’s Law works, California officials say

Posted on January 15, 2009. Filed under: Crime, The Law |

A state board says tight residency limits on sex offenders have driven many to homelessness, which could propel them back into crime. The state spends $25 million housing some of the offenders.

By Michael Rothfeld

January 14, 2009

Reporting from Sacramento — A state panel is urging the governor and legislators to change “Jessica’s Law,” saying its restrictions on where sex offenders can live are counterproductive and calling the nearly $25 million a year spent to house them a poor use of taxpayers’ money.

The residency restrictions, passed by voters more than two years ago in Proposition 83, have never been shown to prevent new crimes and may reduce public safety, the panel says.

Since 70% of voters approved the initiative, “the availability of suitable housing has plummeted,” the state’s Sex Offender Management Board said in a report sent to lawmakers this week.

The state previously had more modest residency limits that applied only to certain sex offenders. Jessica’s Law expanded the restrictions to all sex offenders and greatly reduced the locations where they could reside.

Barring sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other areas where children gather has driven many into homelessness, an unstable situation that can propel them back to crime, according to the board.

State corrections officials say they find housing and pay rent for about 800 who are on parole, but they cannot house them all; the number of homeless sex offenders on parole is 12 times as large as it was when the law was passed.

“It seems unwise to spend such resources as a consequence of residence restriction policies which have no track record of increasing community safety,” board members wrote.

Proposition 83 expanded both the categories of sex offenders included and the limits on where they could live.

Scott Kernan, undersecretary for adult operations at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said his agency is discussing plans to scale back its housing of sex offenders, some of whom have their rent paid by the state for several years while they are on parole, to a shorter period such as 60 or 90 days.

“I don’t know that we can continue to pay long-term for sex offender housing in the current fiscal situation,” Kernan said.

He said the housing, often in motels or halfway-house settings where multiple sex offenders live, was always meant to be transitional. But with the passage of Jessica’s Law, he said, many have been housed for longer because they have little money and their families’ residences may fall in a prohibited zone.

And Kernan said some local officials have created extra barriers — for example, creating parks on highway medians to make certain neighborhoods off-limits.

The Sex Offender Management Board was created in 2006, with 17 members to be appointed by lawmakers and the governor. It includes state and local officials from law enforcement, judicial and social services backgrounds.

It has advocated for the state to focus on the offenders who pose the highest risk and to use practices — such as treatment — that have been shown to work. The state does not provide treatment while offenders are in prison. Jessica’s Law makes little distinction between high- and low-risk offenders, addressing all of them equally with lifetime residency restrictions and satellite tracking.

State lawmakers can alter the initiative with a two-thirds vote. Robert Coombs, a spokesman for the board’s chairwoman, said the members found it infeasible to call for abolishing the residency restrictions, given the sweeping voter approval of Proposition 83. He said state and local officials have the power to interpret the law to allow more housing for sex offenders, but the board believes that the likelihood of legislators fixing the problems in more comprehensive ways — at least in the short term — is slim.

“I can’t imagine a policymaker who would put their name on something that says we want to make it easier for sex offenders to find housing,” Coombs said. “Even though it’s a strong public safety concept,” lawmakers would be setting themselves up for political attack.

Responding to the criticism that residency restrictions have no benefit to public safety, state Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), an author of the initiative, said, “I do believe the general public would say a child molester should not live across the street from a school.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of Proposition 83, has said he is open to revisions but has not suggested any.

Jeanne Woodford, a former state corrections secretary under Schwarzenegger, said the residency restrictions should be abolished. She said many states are reexamining their handling of sex offenders in light of studies showing that there is little utility in registration requirements and other laws the public has supported to keep track of them.

“The bottom line is, this is really what happens when we allow our emotions to get the best of us, as opposed to dealing with the facts,” she said.

michael.rothfeld@latimes.com

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Stalking Survey Results Alarming

Posted on January 14, 2009. Filed under: Crime |

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009
Survey: 3.4M Americans Report Being Stalked

(NEW YORK) — An estimated 3.4 million Americans identified themselves as victims of stalking during a one-year span, according to federal crime experts who on Tuesday released the largest-ever survey of the aggravating and often terrifying phenomenon.

About half of the victims experienced at least one unwanted contact per week from a stalker, and 11 percent had been stalked for five or more years, according to the report by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. It covered a 12-month period in 2005-06. (Read “Letting Victims Track Tormentors”.)

The study was described as a groundbreaking effort to analyze the scope and varying forms of stalking, which had not been featured in previous versions of the National Crime Victimization Survey.

The researchers defined stalking as a course of conduct, directed at a specific person on at least two separate occasions, that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The most commonly reported types of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 percent), unsolicited letters or e-mail (31 percent), or having rumors spread about the victim (36 percent).

More than one-third of the victims reported being followed or spied upon; some said they were tracked by electronic monitoring, listening devices or video cameras.

Nearly 75 percent of victims knew their stalker in some capacity — most commonly a former spouse or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

Women were far more likely than men to be stalking victims, and people who were divorced or separated were more vulnerable than other marital categories. People aged 18-24 were more likely to be stalked than older people.

Victims reported suffering a range of emotions because of the stalking. Their most common fears included not knowing what would happen next (46 percent) and fearing the stalking would continue indefinitely (29 percent). Nine percent of the victims said their worst fear was death.

According to the report, about 130,000 victims said they had been fired or asked to leave their job because of problems arising from the stalking. About one in eight of all employed victims lost time from work, either for fear for their safety or to pursue activities such as seeking a restraining order or testifying in court.

Mary Lou Leary, a former federal prosecutor who is executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, said she was struck by the persistence of some of the stalking behavior depicted in the report.

“When you consider the impact that stalking has on a victim’s life, five weeks is forever — five years is incredible,” she said. “They often have to give up their current life, leave their jobs, their homes, establish a whole new identity.”

Leary credited law enforcement authorities with taking stalking serious, but she said more needs to be done to strengthen anti-stalking laws and to expand the resources to combat it.

The federal government and all 50 states have enacted laws making stalking a crime, but the laws and definitions of stalking vary widely.

The survey’s authors tracked a range of stalking behaviors, including waiting for the victim at a certain location, sending unwanted messages or leaving an unwanted present. “While individually these acts may not be criminal, collectively and repetitively these behaviors may cause a victim to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a family member,” the report said.

About 40 percent of the victims reported the stalking to the police, and about one-fifth filed charges.

The largest previous study of stalking, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005, estimated that 7 million women and 2 million men in the U.S. had been stalked at some time during their life. It found that violence was committed against the stalking victims in at least 25 percent of the cases.

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