Parole Date Nears For Convicted Child Killer

Posted on July 24, 2010. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Donald Schmidt sodomized a 3-year-old girl and drowned her in her own bathtub.


6:24 PM PDT, July 23, 2010

Donald Schmidt appears in court. ((Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel))

RIVERSIDE — California Youth Authority’s oldest inmate, 38 year-old Donald Schmidt, is set to be released from custody 23 year after being convicted in the rape and murder of a 3-year old girl.

Schmidt, who sodomized a 3-year-old girl and drowned her in her own bathtub, was set to be paroled in Riverside County.

There was a strong possibility that Schmidt could have been placed into a halfway house with registered sex offenders on Floral Avenue in Good Hope, an unincorporated area along Highway 74, between Lake Elsinore and Perris.

The home that was under consideration for his placement is less than a mile from Good Hope Elementary School which has a student population of more than 500.

But after community outcry, state officials decided against the location.

“This is great news for the children and residents of Riverside County,” said Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco.

“The notion of sending a child killer to our county even though he has never lived here didn’t make sense and I’m thankful that option is no longer on the table.”

In 1988, Schmidt, then a 16-year-old Fremont runaway high on methamphetamine, sodomized and murdered a 3-year-old girl in the Lompico house where he was a guest.

After the brutal sexual abuse, Schmidt drowned the little girl in a bathtub in her home.

Schmidt was convicted of the murder and, because of his age, was sentenced to a juvenile detention facility.

While in custody, Schmidt was diagnosed as a sexual sadist, pedophile and sociopath.

State officials used his mental illness to keep him incarcerated beyond his original sentence.

As a result, Schmidt has remained behind bars longer than any other juvenile inmate in state history.

But time has run out and Schmidt must be released by June 2011.

He became eligible for parole last month, but so far no parole hearing date has been scheduled, according to William Weigel, the public defender who has represented Schmidt since 2000.

If he’s not paroled during that one-year window, Schmidt will walk out of the Chino juvenile justice facility where he is being held with no oversight.

Other counties in California have also successfully opposed his release.

State Assemblyman Steve Knight, R- Palmdale, fought efforts to have Schmidt relocated to the Antelope Valley.

“This is not something that’s fair,” said Knight, a former Los Angeles police officer.

“It’s not something we want. We have our own who do crimes in our area … and we have to deal with them.”

But Knight said Lancaster residents aware of Schmidt’s impending release are upset and he has concerns Schmidt may re-offend, despite undergoing years of treatment through the state juvenile correctional system.

“I absolutely have faith in the justice system,” Knight said.

“I do not have faith in people who rape and kill kids.”

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