California Parole Board Approves Release of Baby Killer to Portugal

Posted on January 28, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Convicted Killer Antonio Pinto will be transferred to Portugal before he has served his term of life in prison.

The California Board of Parole Hearings, on three separate occasions, found that convicted baby killer, Antonio Pinto, was not safe to release back into society.  However, with California’s blessing, the federal government will be sending this killer out of the country because he asked to go.

The maternal family members are adamantly opposed to this transfer – but their cries fell on deaf ears.

Neither the prosecuting attorney’s office nor the victims are required to receive notice of foreign prisoner transfers.  In addition, neither have the right to have input in the process.

Last year, Annika Ostberg Deasy, sentenced to life for the murder of a law enforcement officer, was released to her native country of Sweden before she completed her prison sentence in the United States.  The district attorney and the victim’s family were taken by surprise by the transfer.  They were opposed to Ms. Deasy being moved out of a California prison prior to completing her sentence.

The Crime Victims Action Alliance, in partnership with the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, will be working diligently to change the regulations and laws regarding foreign prisoner transfers to include notification to, and input from, prosecutors and victims or the victims’ families.

The facts of this case are disturbing – please note that the following description is graphic.

In the late evening of December 28, 1992, well after she had been put to sleep, a weary four-year-old Jessica cried out to her father from her bedroom.  Her call was answered by her father beating her to death.

Antonio Pinto claimed he only remembered a few isolated moments of that evening.  He said he remembered spanking Jessica for calling to him after she had gone to bed and then arguing with him.  He claimed he remembered also accidentally dropped her in the bathtub due to his weak arms – the side effect of medication he claimed to be taking.  He claimed loss of memory to having beaten his four-year-old daughter Jessica to death.

One can only imagine Jessica’s last few hours, filled with fear and pain as she must have cried and begged her father to stop hitting her, asking what she had done wrong and pleading for forgiveness – promising never to be “bad” again.

Jessica’s father did not call 911 for help, even after realizing the severity of Jessica’s injuries from his beatings.  Instead, as Jessica took her final breaths, covered in her own blood and vomit, her father began to take steps to cover up her murder.

At 2:00 a.m. he called in sick to work, saying he was suffering from the flu.  At 6:00 a.m., when Jessica’s paternal grandfather came to the home to babysit Jessica for the day, Pinto turned him away, telling his own father to go home.  Pinto called a neighbor and asked how to clean blood from carpet, and then prepared a detergent solution he used to clean spots of his daughter’s blood from the hallway and bedroom carpets. He also used this solution to clean his daughter’s hair.

It wasn’t until 10:30 a.m. the day after the murder that Pinto called 911 to report his daughter was “having difficulty breathing.”  Firemen and paramedics found Jessica on her father’s bed, as he had left her, still covered in blood and vomit.  Her body was riddled with over 70 separate fresh bruises, 42 of which surrounded her face and neck.  Pinto had beaten Jessica’s buttocks so severely that they were deep purple.  The fact that rigor mortis had set in showed that Jessica had been dead for a while.

The pathologist determined the cause of death to be a result of multiple blunt force trauma.  Her brain was swollen from hemorrhages caused by several powerful blows Pinto delivered to her head.  The sheer number of Jessica’s injuries showed that Pinto inflicted them over some amount of time that night; it took him quite a while to beat his daughter to death.  The pathologist’s finding was that all of Jessica’s injuries were sustained while she was alive.  When Pinto was arrested for his daughter’s murder, his fists bore the evidence of the beating – they were red and swollen.

Pinto was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Jessica’s murder was not an abnormality in Pinto’s character; he had a history of violent behavior.  He suffered one prior conviction for brutally assaulting the innocent victim of a car accident that had been caused by Pinto’s friend.  Pinto had also physically abused his wife.

Antonio Pinto has appeared before the parole board on several occasions, all of which ended in a denial of parole because the parole board still continues to consider the man too dangerous to release from prison.  His last parole hearing was in May 2009 – at which he received a five-year denial.

Jessica’s family was notified in January 2009 that Pinto had applied to be “transferred” to Portugal.  The family members are divided in their positions regarding releasing Pinto to Portugal; his parents are in favor while Jessica’s mother, stepmother, grandparents, and other maternal relatives are adamantly opposed.

The family members opposed to the transfer had mistakenly believed that the five-year denial in May 2009 prevented his “transfer.”  They learned the “transfer” had been approved when Pinto recently wrote to his son, who also opposes Pinto’s international “transfer.”

Jessica’s family contacted the prosecutor’s office in late December 2009 to find out what they could do to stop the “transfer.”  The prosecutors, who had never been notified of Pinto’s application for transfer or its approval, were shocked to hear of the international development.  According to California state law, despite the recent advances in victims’ rights, neither the prosecutor nor the victim or the victim’s family have the right to be notified of the “transfer” of a prisoner from the United States to another country.

Why not transfer Antonio Pinto to Portugal?

No Guarantee of Rehabilitation. California inmates are given an opportunity to transfer to a foreign country when it will benefit their rehabilitation efforts.  This is usually reserved for inmates who are foreign country nationals and have strong family ties in a foreign country.  Antonio Pinto has lived in the United States, with his parents, since he was three years old.

Possible release from prison.  There is no guarantee that an inmate will stay in prison once transferred to another country.  Antonio Pinto is a violent criminal who has been deemed inappropriate for release in the United States.  Transferring this inmate to another country does not change the fact that he is violent and dangerous.  In addition, US authorities will have no way of providing counseling or taking other steps to attempt to rehabilitate the inmate before his release.  Currently dangerous prisoners should not be allowed to be transferred out of the US until the Board of Parole Hearings determines that they are no longer a risk to public safety. Unfortunately, it does happen.

The victim’s rights are not transferrable. Victims currently have the right to attend Parole Hearings and voice their concerns or support regarding the release of an inmate.  Once transferred to a foreign country the victim’s rights can no longer be protected.

No Justice for Jessica. Jessica died as a result of the brutal beating she received at the hands of her father.  He was sentenced to an indeterminate term – his release date to be determined by the Board of Parole Hearings if the Board ever determined him to be appropriate for release into society.  Jessica’s murderer should stay in custody until the Board of Parole Hearings finds that he will not pose an unreasonable risk to society if released.

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