Archive for July, 2009
Below is a blog post from Ron Kaye L.A. blog. What is discussed below is exactly what the Crime Victims Action Alliance and every law enforcement agency association in the state have been telling the Governor and the Secretary of Corrections and Rehabilitation will happen if parolees go unsupervised. This is the second slaying of a 17 year old by a parolee in two days. The first murder occurred in Woodland on Sunday. A 17 year old boy was found “lying in the parking lot of the Crossroads Village Village Apartments on Matmor Road, bleeding heavily from a gunshot wound to his head.”
A comment posted to the blog, which we understand to be accurate, states that Charlie Samuel was out on parole for Petty Theft with Prior. Not only is this an offense that will be considered for no parole but it is one of the crimes that may be reduced from a “wobbler” to a straight misdemeanor – which means that he would have not even gone to prison and certainly would not be on parole (possibly probation) for his crime.
He was released in February 2009 with two subsequent arrests in April 2009 and June 2009. He was then ordered to a drug treatment residential program. Samuel was classified as a low level, non-violent/non-serious offender.
It is important to also note that a couple months ago, the Department of Adult Parole Operations sent out a directive to all parole administrators to reduce parole supervision on all parolees who had a commitment offense that did not fall under PC 667.5 (violent crime).
However, Region 3 (Los Angeles County) directed their Parole Administrators to lower the parole supervision level of parolees with a Violent Commitment Offense.
According to a comment posted to this blog story, “Los Angeles Police Officer Ricardo LIzzaraga was shot and killed by a non-violent, low level parolee. The murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Abel Escalante is a hard core gang member yet he was classified as a non-violent, low level criminal offender.”
This is just the begriming – the parole/prison reform plan to balance the budget hasn’t been fully implemented. Though it does appear that efforts are underway to begin implementation even prior to the legislation that would mandate the reform being approved.
**Below the following blog post is the full story from the LA Daily News regarding the murder of this young girl.
Lily Burk Murder Suspect: Classic Case of a “Non-Violent Offender” Being Freed from Prison
Samuel has been arrested on suspicion of murdering 17-year-old Lily Burk, the Los Feliz teenager whose body was found Saturday morning in her Volvo at 5th and Alameda.
Police arrested Samuel nearby 12 hours earlier on drug charges, according the Times’ LA Now.
The LA Sheriff’s Department Inmate Information website shows Samuel was arrest April 23 on a parole violation, booked at Van Nuys Jail and assigned to a drug treatment program. He was formally released June 24(SAMUEL1.htm).
LA Now quoted law enforcement officials as describing Samuel as a transient with a history of violent crimes and drug problems.
Los Angeles Assistant Police Chief Earl Paysinger said metro officers detained Samuel, suspecting he had been involved in other criminal activity. The officers canvassed the area, looking for evidence of a possible crime but didn’t discover anything out of the ordinary.
This case raises all the right questions about what we’re doing freeing criminals who all too often plead out to lesser charges to avoid conviction for violent crimes — plea bargains that are all too common.
Here’s a guy who is living on the streets, doing hard drugs who got paroled and was left unsupervised by probation officers and released without anyone thinking of the possible consequences.
And now Lily Burk is dead because he apparently accosted her while she was running an errand and tried to rob her.
|Lily Burk murder ‘really hits home’ LAPD says|
|Parolee, 50, is suspected of killing Oakwood student, 17|
|By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
LA Daily News
|Updated:07/27/2009 08:02:44 PM PDT|
Police say parolee Charlie Samuel, 50, abducted Lily Burk Friday afternoon in the Mid-Wilshire area and forced her to try to withdraw money from various ATMs before killing her in a downtown parking lot.
Samuel had abandoned the car, with Burk’s body in the passenger seat, about a half-hour before his arrest by mounted officers patrolling Skid Row, where he was drinking beer, police said at a news conference Monday.
The brutal slaying of Burk, a Los Feliz resident who was to start her senior year at Oakwood School in North Hollywood this fall, has shocked a city all too familiar with violent crime.
At a news conference outside the LAPD’s Parker Center headquarters, LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said the crime “really hits home for all of us.”
“I have a 17-year-old daughter myself and I can’t even imagine what the family has gone through over the weekend.
“And this is something that for all police officers and everybody in the city, I think, it really hits you right in the gut,” McDonnell said. “A tragic event for the whole city family today.”
There were signs of a struggle in the black Volvo where Burk’s body was found. Detectives said the girl had suffered head trauma.
After Samuel was booked on suspicion of murder, police said, he provided details that enabled authorities to piece together a basic chronology of events.
Burk left her family’s Los Feliz home about 2 p.m. Friday to pick up some papers for her mother, Deborah Drooz, a law professor at Southwestern University School of Law in the Westlake area.
Samuel, who is 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds, abducted Burk about an hour later as she was about to get into her parked car near Wilshire Boulevard and Wilshire Place. Police said that no weapons were involved.
Between 3:35 p.m. and 4 p.m., Burk called each of her parents to ask how she could use her credit card to get cash from an ATM. Her father, Gregory Burk, told her that the credit card could not be used at an ATM, police said.
“There was no sense by the parents that she was in trouble,” McDonnell said.
According to police, Burk made arrangements with her father to go to their home to pick up money, but she never made it there.
Shortly before 5 p.m. Friday, Samuel left the Volvo, with Burk’s body inside, in a parking lot at 458 S. Alameda St. However, Burk’s body was not found until 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
By that time, Burk’s parents had reported her missing, and police had started looking for her and her car.
After her body was found, fingerprints collected from the Volvo linked Samuels to her killing. Already in custody, he was booked on suspicion of murder.
Police have been working with the District Attorney’s Office and hope to see charges filed as early as today.
Samuel was in Los Angeles to complete a court-ordered program as a condition of his parole from an earlier conviction for theft, police said.
“He has a colorful criminal history,” LAPD Lt. Al Pasos said.
Nick Goldberg, a spokesman for Burk’s parents, said the family remains in shock over the slaying and have asked for privacy. There were no immediate plans for a vigil or service.
“We are grateful that the police apprehended someone so quickly and that this man is off the streets,” Burk’s parents said in a statement that was read to KTLA by a family friend. “We don’t want him to hurt anyone else. We will now let the legal process run its course.”
And in a statement released over the weekend, Burk’s parents described their daughter for those who never knew her.
“The thing we want people to know about Lily is that she was a beautiful person and that she was looking forward to her life. She was funny, warm, kind and empathetic. She was deeply and widely loved.”
She had been attending Oakwood, a private school wedged between the Hollywood Freeway and Magnolia Boulevard North Hollywood.
The school’s mission statement says it strives to teach each student “independence of thought, intellectual integrity, and moral depth” and prepare them to participate in a democratic society.
On Monday, administrators on campus said neither students nor teachers were available for comment.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement on its Web site saying the case was “an unfortunate and horribly tragic example of why the LAPPL has vehemently opposed the early release of prisoners and minimizing the seriousness of parole violations as a means of reducing the state budget deficit. We are more passionate than ever about this issue because of the tragedy of Lily Burk.”
The police union said Samuel had been arrested on April 23 on a parole violation. Earlier, in February, he was released from state prison where he was serving time after an arrest for petty theft with a prior conviction.
“This is precisely the type of `low level’ parolee the state no longer wants to take responsibility for,” the police union said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on “Non-Violent” Parolee Suspected of Killing 17 Year Old Lily Burk )
This is an interesting blog post from the Daily Mirror that we thought might be of interest to you. This article is a strong reminder of how important the role of Parole Board Commissioner is to public safety. Darryl Thomas Kemp, paroled in 1978 in California, killed again within the first few months after his release.
The Daily Mirror
Larry Harnisch Reflects on Los Angeles History
July 17, 1959: Darryl Thomas Kemp is linked to the killing of Marjorie Hipperson. He killed again a few months after being paroled in 1978.
| The nylon stocking murder of nurse Marjorie Hipperson, one of the most sensational Los Angeles crimes of the 1950s, was taken out of its musty files and brought back to life last year for the prosecution of her slayer, an odd little man named Darryl Thomas Kemp who was paroled by the state of California in 1978 only to rape and kill again.The man sentenced to death last month in the 1978 killing of Armida Wiltsey bears little resemblance to the “pint-sized Canoga Park carpenter” of 23 who was arrested in 1959 on charges of kidnapping and raping a woman in Griffith Park while posing as a ranger. At 73, according to news reports, Kemp often dozes behind dark glasses and uses a wheelchair although some doctors say he is faking his mental and physical illnesses and is perfectly capable of walking.
Kemp’s story is a triumph of criminal forensics in which investigators working nearly 50 years apart used crime scene evidence to link him to two notorious unsolved killings. And for supporters of capital punishment, his life highlights the tragedy of failing to enforce the death penalty.
Deep veins of contradiction run through Kemp’s life. One of the women he raped in Griffith Park in 1959 said he pulled her out of her car by her hair and tore at her clothes like a wild man before choking her viciously. But to his family, he was just the opposite. “He was gentle,” his wife, Maria, said. “Sometimes he would be kind of strange, but he was never violent. He’s not very big or strong and I can’t believe he could commit any kind of violent attack on anyone.”
Born in 1936 in New Jersey, Kemp came to Los Angeles with his family in 1946 and his father got a job with a packing company. The second-oldest of four children, Kemp had a normal childhood, according to his parents, Thomas and Ida, and got good grades in school.
His parents said his behavior changed radically in 1951, at the age of 16, when he was knocked unconscious while playing football. Kemp became moody and “strange,” his father testified in 1959. A defense attorney in the 2008 murder trial said Kemp was dazed and disoriented for two weeks after the injury and didn’t undress before taking showers, according to the Contra Costa Times.
After the injury, Kemp was arrested for the first time, on charges of stripping a car, and his behavior problems evidently continued. Conflicting news accounts say he was seen by a psychiatrist either a month before — or after –Hipperson was killed.
“Darryl is a sick boy — much sicker than we ever realized,” his parents said after his arrest in 1959, “and we want to see to it that he has the psychiatric treatment he needs.”
When she didn’t report for work the next day, Deike came by her apartment at 3737 Los Feliz Blvd. and found her strangled with a nylon and gagged with a washcloth held in place with another nylon. She had been tied at one point and obviously put up a fight with the killer.
The landlady said Dieke came out of the apartment in a state of shock. “She’s dead!” he shouted.
Investigators found that in the previous six months half a dozen women living in apartment houses in the neighborhood had reported intruders and peeping Toms. In fact one of Hipperson’s roommates reported that a young man had barged into the apartment and confronted her while she was lying on her bed. The roommate grabbed her purse off the nightstand and the man laughed and ran.
After that, the roommates had moved out. Hipperson was planning to leave at the end of the month and had already disconnected the phone. Although she had chained the door, the killer had entered through a kitchen window she had left unlatched, police said.
Investigators found numerous fingerprints and hand prints in the apartment, including two that were particularly interesting: One on the wall over the head of the bed and another near the kitchen window.
In the next two years, police fingerprinted 180,000 men in hopes of matching one of them to the prints found in Hipperson’s apartment, but none of them was the killer, The Times said. [That would be 246 men a day for two years, which doesn’t seem likely, but that’s what the paper said].
On July 17, 1959, an unidentified woman was driving along Mt. Hollywood near Vista del Valle Drive in Griffith Park when a man she assumed was a park ranger made her stop and told her: “Turn around, this road is closed.”
Suddenly, he jumped from his truck, pulled the woman out of her car by her hair and dragged her to some bushes, where he “tore at the woman’s clothing like a madman,” a detective said. He ripped off one of her silk stockings and tried to strangle her. When she fought back, he tried to tie her hands.
She later testified that he said: “I am going to murder you like I did the Hipperson woman.”
The woman passed out and awakened when the man opened her eyelids “as if to see if I was dead,” she said. The man rushed to his truck and tried to run her down but he was frightened away by another car.
Four hours later, he was arrested after a chase by two LAPD motorcycle officers who had gotten a description of his truck.
His prints matched one taken from wall over Hipperson’s bed. The killer was identified as Darryl Thomas Kemp.
From his first moment in court in July 1959, it was clear that Kemp was odd. The Times reported that he stood up four times during his arraignment and said; “I have to go home. My wife’s waiting for me.”
Kemp was sullen when he entered the courtroom but quickly became “a sobbing young man apparently near hysteria … staring … frightened.”
The Times said:
A thin quavering voice brought a shocked hush in Municipal Judge Louis Kaufman’s court yesterday. The speaker was Darryl Thomas Kemp, facing arraignment for the brutal murder of nurse Marjorie Hipperson.
“Will you let me go home?” he had asked with the direct simplicity of a child and almost in a child’s voice.
[Judge Louis Kaufmann] “addressed Kemp by name and the prisoner rose slowly to his feet to dumbfound the court with his request so completely out of step with the harsh reality of his presence in the courtroom.
“Do you know why you are here?” asked Judge Kaufman.
“Is she mad at me–my wife?” Kemp asked in the same querulous voice.
Suddenly the prisoner fainted and slumped to the floor.
On New Year’s Eve, Kemp was convicted of murdering Hipperson. The jury found him sane and gave him the death penalty. He was sentenced to death in February 1960 and also received two consecutive prison terms on two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping involving two women he raped in Griffith Park.
Once Kemp was in prison, his case unfolded in slow motion. In March 1960, while on death row, he slashed his wrists with a razor blade, requiring 30 stitches. A year later, the California Supreme Court affirmed his death sentence, set for June 21, 1961.
Two days before Kemp’s date with the gas chamber, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas granted a stay of execution and in September 1961, Kemp was found to be “presently insane,” a distinction meaning that he was sane at the time of the killing but insane at the present moment.
Kemp was sent to the California Medical Institution at Vacaville, where he was treated until December 1968, when he was transferred to Atascadero State Hospital. In February 1969, doctors said Kemp had regained his sanity, but before he could be returned to death row, the California Supreme Court was forced to reverse his sentence because of a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision on improperly excusing prospective jurors over their views on the death penalty.
In May 1970, jury selection began to determine whether Kemp should once again be given the death penalty. By now, much of the evidence had been destroyed, several witnesses had died or disappeared and some of Kemp’s statements were no longer admissible because of the Miranda rights, which had been introduced after he was convicted.
Two months later, despite these challenges, Kemp, now 34, was again given the death penalty for killing Hipperson.
Kemp spent two more years on death row. Then in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned California’s death penalty. Kemp was among 102 men on death row who became eligible for parole when their sentences were converted to life in prison. He was paroled to Pleasant Hill, Calif., in July 1978 and began a relationship with a woman who had been writing to him while he was behind bars as part of a program at Diablo Valley College.
On Nov. 14, 1978, Armida Wiltsey, the 40-year-old wife of a Kaiser Steel executive, went jogging on a popular trail around the Lafayette Reservoir, off California 24 between Berkeley and Walnut Creek. A search for her began after she failed to pick up her 10-year-old son from school and a police dog found her body about 60 feet off the running path. She had been raped and strangled after putting up a terrific fight, judging by traces of the killer’s blood found under her fingernails.
According to the Contra Costa Times, investigators eventually decided that Wiltsey had probably been murdered by serial killer Phillip Hughes, a school janitor who was convicted in 1980 of killing three other women and is suspected in many other deaths. In 2000, as DNA testing became more sophisticated, the blood taken from beneath Wiltsey’s fingernails was compared to a sample from Hughes with stunning results: He wasn’t the killer.
In the meantime, Kemp had moved to Austin, Texas, and in 1983, he broke into the home of six university students and raped and choked them, drawing a life sentence.
With Hughes eliminated as a suspect by DNA testing, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Detective Roxane Gruenheid took up the long-unsolved Wiltsey case. In reading the records, she noticed that investigators had interviewed Darryl Thomas Kemp, a paroled sex killer, two weeks after the Wiltsey murder following his arrest in Walnut Creek as a peeping Tom.
A girlfriend, his former prison pen pal, had provided an alibi for him at the time Wiltsey was killed, but as a precaution, investigators took samples of Kemp’s hair. Although the hair samples had been retained for more than 20 years, they had degraded too much for DNA testing. A Texas judge ordered Kemp to give a blood sample for testing.
In October 2008, five years after he was linked to the crime, Kemp went on trial in Contra Costa County in Wiltsey’s killing. He was now 72 years old and according to news reports, he wore dark glasses, used a hearing device and dozed in his wheelchair during most of the trial.
Psychiatrists were divided on Kemp’s mental evaluations. Defense experts said he had brain damage while conceding that other analysts said he was faking his mental and physical problems.
Several of Kemp’s victims testified, including one of the women he raped in Texas in 1983 and a woman he raped in Griffith Park in 1959. Prosecutor Mark Peterson told jurors of the Hipperson killing, but was not allowed to add that Kemp had been given the death penalty twice in that case.
During the trial, Kemp’s lawyers mounted a defense that skirted the charges. They said Kemp was guilty of sodomy rather than rape, that he choked Wiltsey to get control of her and didn’t mean to kill her, and that the distance she was found from the jogging path wasn’t enough to constitute kidnapping.
The jury quickly rejected the defense arguments and after two hours’ deliberations, convicted Kemp on Dec. 3, 2008, of first-degree murder. Later that month they gave him the death penalty and in June, at the age of 73, Darryl Thomas Kemp was sentenced to die — for the third time.
Without going too far into armchair psychology, it seems Kemp selected a particular kind of victim. Rather than preying on those engaged in high-risk behavior such as streetwalking or picking up men in bars, Kemp chose wholesome, middle-class women who did nothing more dangerous than leaving a window unlatched, like Hipperson , or venturing into rugged terrain like Griffith Park or Lafayette Reservoir. Based on fragmentary evidence in the public record, none of his victims was a woman who could be expected to come to a bad end.
And in one other tragic parallel, the deaths of Hipperson and Wiltsey were absolutely devastating to the men they left behind.
Deike, who found Hipperson’s body, married another woman, but he drowned in Mendocino Bay five years after the killing and many speculate that it was a suicide.
During Kemp’s sentencing, jurors wept as Wiltsey’s husband, Boyd, testified: “I was just devastated … and that stayed with me day and night for years,” according to the Contra Costa Times. “It made me realize how valuable the things you have are because when you lose them you really know — I really know how much I loved Armida. I probably didn’t show her enough and I regret that.”
After he was sentenced to death last month, Kemp raised his head and opened his eyes, having hunched down in his wheelchair during the trial, according to the Contra Costa Times.
He asked his attorneys: “Is that it?”
Epilogue: Kemp was questioned in 1959 about the killings of Ruth Goldsmith, Barbara Jepson and Esther Greenwald, but the results were never reported. Defense attorneys in his 2008 trial said he raped about 11 women.
By Michael Rothfeld, Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2009
Reporting from Sacramento — California prison officials, facing severe overcrowding and a financial crisis, have been granting early releases to inmates serving time for parole violations.
State officials said the dozens of prisoners set free from the California Institution for Men in Chino and from lockups in San Diego and Shasta counties had 60 days or less left on their terms, or had been accused of violations and were awaiting hearings. The releases were approved by the state parole board.
At least 89 inmates have been freed or approved for early release during the last two months. Others have been sent to home detention, drug rehabilitation programs or similar alternative punishments.
They were screened to ensure that they had never been convicted of the most serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, kidnapping or sexual offenses, the officials said. The inmates may have been convicted of grand theft, weapons possession, driving under the influence of alcohol or other crimes. Their parole may have been revoked for missing an appointment with a parole agent, failing a drug test, committing robbery or any number of other offenses.
The move came as county authorities in Los Angeles and elsewhere said they could no longer house — and in some cases, threatened to release — inmates awaiting transfer to state prisons from their own teeming jails. Counties routinely hold newly convicted prisoners or those picked up on parole violations until the state can take them.
But California’s $26.3-billion deficit has left the state without enough money to pay for all of those its laws designate for punishment. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers are considering numerous ways, including the early release of inmates, to save money by reducing a prison population of nearly 170,000.
No budget decisions have been made, and Schwarzenegger spokesman Matt David said the governor had been unaware of the recent releases, most of which were in response to complaints by Los Angeles County that the state had left nearly 2,000 prisoners in its jails. That number represents about 10% of the prisoners in the county’s jail system, which has a court-ordered population cap.
“This was an emergent crisis,” said Terri McDonald, the state’s chief deputy secretary for adult operations at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “We don’t want a system failure in the county jail.”
The inmates released from Chino opened up beds for some of those being held in Los Angeles County. McDonald said the state, to be “good partners” with the county, put other inmates in prison gymnasiums that officials had planned to stop using as dormitories, and took additional measures to free up space.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, however, said that the burden had not been alleviated and that the inmates, who cost the county $70 million a year to house, were the state’s responsibility.
“If they’re releasing them . . . that’s their call,” Baca said. “For them to blame me for their decision is absurd. All I’m saying is, ‘I don’t want them in my jail any longer. You’re not paying me, and we’re not offering a free ride.’ ”
In a June 30 e-mail, a state parole administrator told agents that the Chino prison would be the “first target” for releasing parole violators. Because of the fiscal crisis, the e-mail said, “we are starting to experience some resistance and refusals of the counties to hold our prisoners” and the state was “incapable” of taking them.
Shasta County, for instance, had recently been forced to close a jail wing because sheriff’s deputies were laid off, wrote the administrator, whose e-mail was provided to The Times without a name attached.
The county had notified the state the week before that unless “30 or so” inmates were transferred, it would “release them to the streets over the weekend,” the e-mail said.
Five were evaluated and released early, with approval from the parole board; the rest were transferred to state prisons, corrections officials said.
In San Diego, 200 inmates are transferred from local jails to state prisons each week. After the state abruptly stopped accepting them in May, then-Sheriff William Kolender warned prison officials that he would release 138 parole violators to avoid exceeding his jails’ court-ordered population cap.
“We regret to take this drastic action, but we have no other alternative given our responsibility to adhere to a court order,” Kolender wrote in a letter dated May 5. He added that the county had been “burdened with holding state prisoners for an inordinate amount of time and cost.”
The county did not carry out its threat because the state approved two inmates for early release, sent some home on alternative sanctions and transferred others to state prisons.
California has one of the nation’s most stringent policies of supervising ex-convicts once they are released; parole violations account for 70,000 prison admissions each year.
Joan Petersilia, a prisons expert who has advised Schwarzenegger’s administration, said it makes “good public-policy sense” to reduce that number and reserve prison beds for those who are most dangerous.
“We simply can’t afford the punishment that we’ve had in California,” Petersilia said.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( Comments Off on California grants early release of parole violators )