Northridge murders prompt review of realignment by LA County Supervisors


It was a unanimous vote from the Los Angeles County Supervisors. They will get more controls and information on convicted criminals released on parole in the county.

The man accused of murdering four people in Northridge early this month was not in prison, despite his violent past. Suspect Ka Pasasouk was allowed into a drug diversion program in September at the recommendation of the L.A. County District Attorney's Office after his last conviction on drug charges. The DA's Office now says that was a mistake.

"There might be four people alive today in Northridge, California if they had taken the wise counsel of most of us here two years ago on that portion of the bill," said Yaroslavsky.

Pasasouk's last conviction was for drug possession. Yet he has a long history of convictions for violent crimes. The supervisors warned about the provision in Assembly Bill 109 that tries to divert convicted criminals from prison based on their last conviction.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich introduced the ordinance to get more information about parolees.

"Since October 1st, 2012, we've had over 12,000 people who should be on state parole put down on county probation departments throughout the state. Just in L.A. County, of those, nearly 8,000 have already been re-arrested and sent to jail," said Antonovich.

The head of the county's probation department was not encouraging about the diversion program the state started one year ago.

"There are some who will end up in newsworthy events who it doesn't matter what we do to them, how we attempt to compel them, we're not going to change their behavior," said L.A. County Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers. After January the chief probation officer is going to make monthly reports on the status of people released from jail. It might help law enforcement be alerted to the potential for violence like that in Northridge.

Pasasouk's probation officers recommended jail time after his arrest in September for possession of methamphetamine, but the D.A.'s office offered a plea deal that placed him on a Proposition 36 drug treatment program.

Had Pasasouk been sentenced to jail, he would have been incarcerated in the beginning of December and would not have been able to commit the alleged murders.

Pasasouk was not eligible for Prop. 36's drug program because he had a robbery conviction, which is a serious and violent felony.

After an internal review of Pasasouk's case, the D.A.'s office said in a statement, "The review shows that the office inadvertently erred in indicating the defendant was eligible for a Proposition 36 drug program. Training issues raised during the review will be addressed by the District Attorney's Office countywide."

Pasasouk is an ex-convict with a lengthy criminal record. Court records show he was released from prison in January and placed on probation after a 2010 conviction, but he missed an appointment with his probation officer in February. The probation department began the process of requesting a bench warrant. Meanwhile, he was arrested again in September.

On Dec. 1, the day before Pasasouk allegedly gunned down four people outside an unlicensed boarding house in Northridge, a bench warrant was being prepared for his arrest.

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