HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The man charged with stabbing a 23-year-old woman to death in front of a popular tourist attraction on Hollywood Blvd. was a parolee who had been released under the state’s prison realignment program, a county official said Tuesday.
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said 26-year-old Dustin James Kinnear was released in April as part of AB 109, the program to ease overcrowding and cut costs by releasing non-violent offenders and placing them under the supervision of county probation officers.
Kinnear is one of three transients charged in the fatal stabbing of Christine Calderon, who was involved in a dispute with the men after she took their picture Tuesday evening and they demanded she give them $1, according to investigators.
Yaroslavksy charges that Kinnear was let out of prison in April as part of an early release program for which violent criminals are not supposed to be eligible.
State corrections officials deny these claims and say Kinnear was not released early and say his alleged crime had nothing to do with the prison realignment or any type of early release program.
The Los Angeles Times reports Kinnear had a history of mental health issues and had been arrested at least 46 times. Seven of those arrests were reportedly for assault with a deadly weapon.
“He was in prison for assault with a deadly weapon, he had a three-year sentence,” said Yaroslavsky. “He was released early to the streets of Hollywood. So the first question I have is: what’s going on? How did this happen?”
It may have happened because California’s penal code doesn’t define assault with a deadly weapon as a serious or violent crime, according to a state corrections official.
Sheriff’s Department records show Kinnear was in and out of county jails on five occasions between April and May, and had been released from jail just 11 days before the attack.
“He should have been behind bars,” said Tanisha Jackson-Crawford, the victim’s older sister. “I know people fall through the cracks and sometimes that’s a misfortune. But yeah, her life would have been saved.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor unanimously voted to support Yaroslavksy’s call for a timeline from the county showing the suspect’s movements, from his parole to the evening of June 18 when the attack occurred.
Yaroslavsky also said he wanted to determine whether the suspect received evaluation or treatment for mental illness.
On Thursday, Kinnear’s mother told CBS2 that such an attack was “a matter of when” because her son is severely mentally ill.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday that increased patrols were operating in the area with units pulled from throughout the city.
But the victim’s sister said she believes the system failed her sister when it released Kinnear from custody.
“Because he was released, my sister’s gone. My only baby sister,” she said.