Archive for August, 2010

Instead of Pelican Bay, violent white supremacist was assigned to fire line

Posted on August 11, 2010. Filed under: Crime, Gangs, Parole, Prisons |

The Record Searchlight/
By Ryan Sabalow

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jeffory Shook, who was arrested last week in Siskiyou County after escaping from a prisoner fire crew, is not the kind of model inmate state and local firefighters increasingly have come to rely on while battling the north state’s wildfires.

Detectives say the 36-year-old former Lincoln man is friends with members of the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist prison gang. Twice he has been shot and wounded by police after leading officers on dangerous, out-of-control car chases.

And, detectives say, he once tried to run over a police officer.

Yet the inmate, who Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner once called “one of the most violent and dangerous suspects we’ve encountered in a long time,” ended up fighting fires as part of a minimum-security Northern California inmate fire crew.

And last month he did what detectives say he’d done countless times before.

He escaped.

On July 7, Shook, who wasn’t eligible for parole until 2013, fled the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp in Nevada City.

Margaret Pieper, a spokeswoman at the minimum-security facility, said Shook ran off when one of the corrections officers assigned to the fire camp spotted him using a cell phone, which are banned in the state’s prison system.

After leading U.S. Marshals, parole agents and detectives on a four-county manhunt, he was found last week at a trailer park in Happy Camp in Siskiyou County, said Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Betts.

Detectives had received tips he’d holed up with his Aryan Brotherhood associates he’d met in prison, Betts said.

When officers closed in for the arrest, Shook tried to take off in a pickup that had been reported stolen on Aug. 1 in Red Bluff, Betts said.

Shook eventually gave up without a fight when detectives pinned the truck in, Betts said.

Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Shook’s violent criminal background and propensity for escape are exactly what they try to avoid when picking the best of the state’s prisoners to join the 4,228 inmates working on hand crews stationed at the state’s 44 inmate fire camps.

“They do tend to be the better-behaved, lower-risk inmates,” said Paul Verke, a CDCR spokesman.

Verke said the inmate hand crews have proven to be an invaluable asset in fire-prone California. The inmates are the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s only hand crews, Verke said.

Inmates typically earn $1 per hour and can earn up to two days off their sentence for every day they work fighting fires. Inmates work an average of 10 million work hours per year, saving taxpayers more than $80 million annually.

“On some of the larger fires of 2009, inmates were approximately 80 percent of the firefighting effort,” Verke said.

There are a handful of inmate fire camps in the north state including the Sugar Pine Conservation Camp just a few miles east of Redding on Highway 299.

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, said the community should be alarmed that violence-prone inmates like Shook could be fighting fires this summer near their homes.

“This is very serious,” he said.

Nielsen, a vocal critic of the state’s prison and parole system and former president of the state’s Board of Parole and Prison Terms, said Tuesday that he’s going to look into why Shook was placed into a low-security camp even though he had such a violent — and escape-prone — past.

Nielsen said he suspects Shook was placed in the camp as part of the state’s effort to reduce the number of incarcerated inmates in the prison system, but he acknowledged it could have been just a mistake.

Pieper said authorities didn’t know of Shook’s violent history or his altercations with officers since he wasn’t officially convicted of any of those crimes.

“Hindsight is 20-20,” Pieper said.

She said there was “no documentation in Shook’s file” that he was a member or associate of the Aryan Brotherhood.

“If he had been, he would not have been eligible for fire camp placement, and he would have been housed in Pelican Bay State Prison,” Pieper said.

In 2006, Shook was convicted by plea bargain on joint charges filed in Placer and Sutter counties. He’d initially been accused of auto theft, methamphetamine possession and for trying to run down a Placer County sheriff’s detective in Yuba City in 2005.

In the Yuba City incident, a detective shot Shook in the arm when Shook swerved his car at the detective, according to Betts and news reports.

Betts said Shook also had previously been shot by deputies in Orange County.

Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow, a spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Department, said that detectives in the county east of Sacramento knew Shook all too well and that they had chased him numerous times.

“He’s a very dangerous individual who has no regard for citizens’ safety,” Ausnow said. “He would do anything to try to escape custody.”

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After 17 News investigation, governor orders public notification when paroled sex offenders try to remove GPS monitoring device

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Last Update: 8/04 8:43 pm

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations to notify the public whenever a sex offender on parole removes his or her Global Positioning System tracking device and tries to escape supervision. The governor’s action came after a 17 News investigation, which revealed the CDCR never notified the public when a paroled sex offender removed the device and went off the radar, because there was no law requiring them to do so.Our investigation, which aired Tuesday, started after convicted rapist German Baeza, 26, cut off his GPS ankle bracelet in Oildale on July 5th and went on the lam.

About two weeks later, police say he tried to kidnap a 14-year-old girl in east Bakersfield, but she fought him off. Three days after that, deputies say Baeza kidnapped and raped a 15-year-old girl he met online, after he lured her into meeting him in person.

17 News called Shafter Senator Dean Florez Wednesday to ask why there was no law requiring public notification when paroled sex offenders cut off their ankle monitors. Florez called on Governor Schwarzenegger to take action.

Schwarzenegger ordered the CDCR to notify the media and the public when a paroled sex offender on GPS attempts to flee. “Paroled sex offenders that take action to remove their GPS pose a threat to public safety, and the department must take every necessary step to eliminate that threat, including making sure the public is aware of these individuals. My greatest priority is to protect the safety of all Californians, and a better informed public will help make our communities safer from sex offenders trying to run from parole supervision,” Schwarzenegger said in an announcement e-mailed to 17 News.

Monitored sex offenders often run from parole supervision. The CDCR said in late June they have 7,266 parolees on GPS, and of those, 6,548 are sex offenders. Each month, between 20 and 60 monitored parolees try to cut off the devices, or disable them, and run away. “We will immediately begin the development of a system that notifies the media and the public when a sex offender attempts to abscond from parole supervision,” CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate said.

Senator Florez noted that swift notification to the public can play a big part in the timely arrest of the fugitive parolees. 17 News will continue to monitor this developing story and we will let you know when the system is in place.

Baeza was caught and identified as the kidnapping and rape suspect after he was arrested on a parole violation.

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State offered no warning of fugitive rapist

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Last Update: 8/04 1:15 pm
When a convicted Bakersfield rapist cut off his ankle monitor and went into hiding July 5, the state parole department never warned the public. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which operates the state parole division, never tells the public when a paroled sex offender cuts off his ankle monitor and has disappeared from their sight.

The CDCR notifies local law enforcement, said CDCR spokesman Luis Patino said.

“The system is that we put it through and automated system that automatically tells all law enforcement officials who the parolees at large are, and also there is an arrest warrant put out,” Patino said.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office got that notification nearly a month ago when German Baeza, 26, cut off his GPS ankle monitor and left the home in which he was supposed to be living at 124 E. McCord Ave. in Oildale.

“They notified us by e-mail when this occurred. Due to his classification, we took the e-mail and we let our patrol officers know,” Kern County Sheriff’s Department Commander Ed Komin said.

He is now accused of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old Bakersfield girl at gunpoint. He met her online and lured her into meeting him, according to sheriff’s deputies. Police said just days earlier, Baeza tried to abduct a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint in east Bakersfield. She fought him off and escaped.

Local law enforcement agencies can notify the public about wanted parolees, but they only do so if the sex offender is considered a violent predator, such as having several violent sex crimes. Baeza only had one conviction and didn’t qualify.

“Sexually violent predators are reserved for the most violent, where there is a reasonable expectation that there is a danger to the public if they escape,” Komin said.

In 2009, sex offender Bruce Riley cut of his tracking device and threw it on the freeway. Parole agents kept silent about it. Two weeks after Riley fled, a Bakersfield Police Department officer doing a random check found he was gone. The BPD alerted the public and a woman called police saying she had bought an RV from the sex offender. Riley was caught in Las Vegas.

Baeza is in jail and faces numerous charges, including kidnapping, rape, sodomy and assault.

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Fatal party’s host is sex offender

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: Crime, Parole |

Sacramento Bee
Published Thursday, Aug. 05, 2010

The man who hosted the “under 21” dance party at which a 14-year-old girl was fatally shot last month is a sex offender with a history of pimping, pandering and prostitution of minors, according to authorities.

The conditions of 43-year-old Kevin Love Kennedy’s parole from state prison after a 2004 conviction for pimping prohibited him from legally being near juveniles, said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran.

Furthermore, the July 11 youth-oriented event – which deputies say Kennedy organized, promoted and held in a space he rents but never had the appropriate business license for – was advertised as lasting until midnight, well after the county’s 10 p.m. curfew for unaccompanied minors, deputies allege.

Gunshots rang out at the Auburn Boulevard party 17 minutes after curfew began. Lanajah Nachelle Dupree of Sparks, Nev., was killed in the attack, and a 17-year-old was injured.

State parole agents arrested Kennedy on July 27 on suspicion of the parole violation, Curran said. On Wednesday, deputies added a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of minors for the broken curfew, Curran said.

Additionally, deputies said Kennedy faces a misdemeanor charge of violating a restraining order. That protective order was obtained by the owner of the Auburn Boulevard business complex where Kennedy rented two spaces – one for a recording studio, the other for his “Venue 4 Rent” business, Curran said.

The owner feared retaliation from Kennedy for cooperating with the investigation, Curran said.

Curran declined to explain how Kennedy violated that restraining order, other than to say the alleged violation occurred during phone calls that Kennedy, who was in custody at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center at the time, made to an employee of his.

Kennedy remains at the RCCC, where he could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In earlier interviews with The Bee, Kennedy said he was not at the party when the shooting occurred. He also said the party’s promoter had assured him that his previous under-21 parties were peaceful events.

The day after the party, he was seen hugging Dupree’s cousin, who acted as a spokesman for the grieving family.

Curran said deputies suspect that Kennedy was the event’s promoter and have not been able to identify anyone else involved in the party’s organization or promotion.

He also said that deputies were able to place Kennedy at the party before the gunfire erupted.

Authorities have said a fight inside the venue that night prompted security guards to clear out the place. Outside, 19-year-old Jaivonne Flenory-Davis fired into the crowd, striking Dupree and the 17-year-old girl, according to sheriff’s detectives.

They suspect Flenory-Davis was aiming at rival gang members and that the victims were hit unintentionally. The older teen survived.

On July 15, detectives arrested Flenory-Davis on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. He is scheduled to appear in court again today. Kennedy is scheduled to appear in court Friday.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Kennedy had served time in prison before the 2004 pimping conviction. Over the course of four earlier cases, Kennedy was convicted of prostitution of a minor under the age of 16, pandering, firearm possession, drug possession and domestic violence, CDCR records show.

As deputies investigated Kennedy’s involvement in the fatal July 11 party, Curran said deputies identified what they considered another lapse in judgment: Kennedy’s alleged promotion of a July 29 event at one of his rented properties called the “Smoke and Groove Tour.”

In promotional materials, Curran said, Kennedy hyped the event as a rap concert with a full bar, medicinal marijuana prescriptions available and free medicinal marijuana.

Deputies shut down the event before it could begin, and Kennedy faces no charges in connection with it.

Special Agent Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, said the event’s legality would have depended on who was writing the prescriptions, who was getting them (and why) and how much medicinal marijuana was present at the event.

Nonetheless, she was skeptical based on the description.

Said Gregory: “Odds are, it wasn’t going to be legitimate if they were just going to have people showing up and handing out (prescription) cards.”

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