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Why ‘Golden State Killer’ may have stopped murder spree: Investigator

first_imgABC News (LOS ANGELES) — The deadly crime spree of the “Golden State Killer” includes a five-year pause that has remained a baffling mystery to this day.But now, with the arrest of 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, the lead detective in the case believes he knows why the alleged serial killer who terrorized California residents for two decades took a break between a 1981 double homicide and the last slaying attributed to him in 1986.Retired Det. Paul Holes, who investigated the case for decades, says in an interview to air Friday on ABC’s “20/20” that he believes fear of being confronted by a combative victim caused him to halt the attacks after the murders of Cheri Domingo and Gregory Sanchez on July 27, 1981, in Goleta.And Holes said lust is likely the reason the killer struck again on May 4, 1986, with the rape and murder of Janelle Lisa Cruz in Irvine.“I believe what ended up happening were two things: In 1981, he ends up going into kill Gregory Sanchez and Cheri Domingo. And he gets in a physical fight with 6-foot-3 Gregory Sanchez. And I think that physical altercation with Sanchez scared him. We don’t have an attack for five years,” Holes said in the interview.“But then … for some reason, he runs across beautiful 19-year-old Janelle Cruz and can’t help himself. And kills her,” said Holes, a former Contra Costa County cold-case detective.Following Cruz’s killing, the “Golden State Killer” rampage suddenly stopped. No other cases were linked to the serial killer, and Holes shared his theory why he seemed to go into retirement.“At this point, he’s an aging offender,” Holes said. “And so, he is no longer in that prime where he’s now going out as frequently as he wants, naturally due to his age.”But Holes said “it is possible, but I think it’s relatively unlikely” that the killer continued his reign of terror after he targeted Cruz.“But I can’t say for sure,” Holes said. “I know we have looked over the years for additional cases, ’cause we wanted to try to see if we could find more. And we haven’t. So, it’s not just starting that search now. That’s been ongoing for a long time. And we’ve been unsuccessful.”Detectives suspect that during the crime spree, the “Golden State Killer” committed 12 murders, at least 50 rapes and multiple home burglaries throughout the state. They believe he first struck on June 18, 1976, when, wearing a mask and gloves, he broke into a woman’s home in Rancho Cordova and robbed her of money and jewelry.DeAngelo worked as a police officer in the rural central California town of Exeter from 1973 to 1976, and later for the Auburn, California, Police Department until 1979, when he was fired for shoplifting dog repellent and a hammer, officials said. At the start of the “Golden State Killer” crime spree, DeAngelo would have been 31 years old. At the time of Cruz’s rape and murder, he would have been 40.The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, which is currently investigating the case, has not publicly offered any theories as to why the killings paused during the five years or stopped after 1986.DeAngelo, a married father of three adult children, was arrested on April 24 at his home in Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento, after detectives used DNA evidence allegedly linking him to the cold-case crime spree.“Finally I got to see the face of the man that I’ve been hunting for 24 years,” Holes of DeAngelo’s arrest. “I can now read these case files and visualize Joe DeAngelo committing these acts, as opposed to this nameless masked man.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli owes IRS more than $1.6M, court filing says

first_imgDrew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli finally pays for his fraud, the federal government argues its coffers should be filled first.Shkreli, who was convicted of securities fraud and is serving a seven-year prison sentence, owes the IRS more than $1.6 million, according to a new court filing.“Martin Shkreli has failed, neglected, or refused to pay in full the liability for the income tax year 2015,” government tax attorney Stephanie Chernoff said in the court filing.The feds asked a judge to determine whether Shkreli should pay that debt before others. Last month the commissioner of Taxation and Finance in New York said Shkreli should first repay his state tax lien of $480,000, “an interest superior to that of the United States of America,” the state attorney general argued.The state said its tax lien dates to January 2017, well before Shkreli was ordered in March to forfeit more than $7 million in assets to satisfy his securities fraud conviction.The federal government said its tax lien is even older.“The long-established priority rule with respect to federal tax liens is that ‘the first in time is the first in right,’” Chernoff said. “The federal tax lien has priority over the commissioner’s liens.”If Shkreli cannot pay, the IRS wants a piece of his other forfeited assets, including an E-Trade brokerage account, a Picasso work and the rare Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Nine stabbed in unprovoked spree at Idaho apartment complex

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(BOISE) — Nine people are hospitalized — some seriously — after a man went on a stabbing spree at an apartment complex in Boise, Idaho, that is home to many refugee families, police said.A 30-year-old man from out of state has been arrested in connection with the attack Saturday night that police said seemed to be “unprovoked.”“This incident is not a representation of our community but a single evil individual who attacked people without provocation that we are aware of at this time,” Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said Saturday evening. “Our community is reeling from this attack.”Police said they do not know if the suspect is connected to the victims in any way.Boise police got a call at 8:46 p.m. local time about a man with a knife attacking victims at the apartment complex. The suspect was located and taken into custody immediately, police said.The officers found the stabbing victims in the apartment complex and its parking lot, according to police. Nine were taken to a local hospital.“The suspect is in custody and being interviewed at this time,” the Boise Police Department said on its Twitter feed. “Victim witness coordinators and counselors are working with the victims and witnesses to provide them services in the days and weeks ahead.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Renoir painting looted by Nazis returned to rightful owner’s heir

first_imgMuseum of Jewish Heritage(NEW YORK) — Federal authorities returned a Renoir looted by the Nazis during World War II to the heir of its rightful owner on Wednesday.Pierre-August Renoir painted “Deux Femmes Dans Un Jardin” in 1919, the last year of his life as he suffered the painful effects of arthritis.“Deux Femmes” belonged to a prominent collector in pre-war Paris, Alfred Weinberger, authorities said, but was stolen by the Nazis from a bank vault in Paris in 1941.Three-quarters of a century later, Weinberger’s last surviving heir, Sylvie Sulitzer, received the work at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, the first time she had ever seen it in person.“My family left Paris to escape the Gestapo,” Sulitzer said during a press conference at the museum Wednesday. “I’m very thankful to be able to show my beloved family, wherever they are, that after all they’ve been through, there is justice.”Weinberger fled Paris during the occupation and, upon his return, filed a claim to the Renoir painting. It resurfaced in Johannesburg in 1975, was sold in London in 1977 and then appeared for sale in Zurich in 1999.Sulitzer learned of its whereabouts in 2013 when it was put up for auction at Christie’s in New York. Christie’s alerted the FBI and the owner of the painting voluntarily agreed to relinquish it, authorities said.“The extraordinary journey this work of art has made around the globe ends today,” said Bill Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office.Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District in New York, said Wednesday’s event that it is about more than just a painting.“Today, as we celebrate the just return of this painting to its rightful owner, we also remember the uniqueness of the Holocaust and reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the words ‘never forget, never again’ never ring hollow,” said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District in New York.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Lions, tigers and shelter pets will ride out Hurricane Florence in place

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NORFOLK, Va.) — Officials are pleading with residents in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Florence, but certain city dwellers aren’t able to leaveNamely, the lions, tigers and giraffes at the Virginia Zoo, and the more than 100 dogs and cats at the SPCA shelter in northeastern North Carolina.“I am planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” said Judy Anthony, the manager of the SPCA shelter, which is in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.Anthony posted a call for people to foster as many of the shelter’s roughly 150 animals as possible on Sunday, but so far only 30 animals have found temporary homes.“Whether they’re evacuating or they’re riding out the storm there in their homes, [we want] to make sure that the animals will have somebody with them at all times,” Anthony said, noting that the rest will remain in the shelter with a staff member or volunteer who plans to check in and feed the remaining animals as conditions allow.Gerry Leighton, who runs the dog daycare franchise Camp Bow Wow in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was able to evacuate all of the dogs staying in the camp by Tuesday, more than two days ahead of the storm’s expected landfall on early Friday.She told ABC News that she and her husband kept some dogs in their care when Hurricane Matthew hit in 2017.“It was very stressful because we weren’t sure how bad it was going to get. We were getting tornado warnings and everything,” she said, adding that at one point they were sleeping on mattresses on the floor of their home to be closer to the nervous pets.“We decided that we were not going to do that again, and so we were actually lucky this time to get all of the emergency contacts” to pick up the dogs that were in their care, she said.Larger animals like those at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, the property of which is partly under an evacuation order, are going to ride out the storm in the indoor and sheltered portions of their enclosures.The zoo have a team comprising zookeepers, a vet and groundskeepers who will be staying on the property during the storm to help care for the animals, the zoo’s marketing manager, Ashley Mars, told ABC News.Other area zoos, like the Lynnwood Park Zoo near Jacksonville, North Carolina, and the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston are closed due to the storm and did not immediately respond to press requests.Preparations start 72 hours before the storm is slated to hit, and that they include assessing supplies — including food and medications for the animals — and checking that generators are equipped and ready, Mars said.Some steps that the zoo took in preparation for the storm, like taking down any outdoor umbrellas in visitors’ areas, are typical for many people in storm zones. However, other steps, such as removing the shade cloth (essentially a tarp) used to give rhinos comfort on hot days, speak to the unusual nature of storm preparation for such facilities.The topography of the zoo means that “we’ve never really had any flooding on zoo grounds” in the past, with the only prior flooding limited to the parking lot, Mars said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

California wildfires leave at least 66 dead with more than 600 still missing: ‘It’s going to get worse’

first_imgMarcus Yam /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(PARADISE, Calif.) — Search crews have found seven more bodies in the burned-out rubble of Paradise, California, as officials there fear more deaths in the destructive wildfires raging at both ends of the state that has already claimed 66 lives.The deadliest and most destructive of the two massive blazes is the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County, which has killed at least 63 people.The seven bodies, which were discovered Thursday, were all as a result of the fire, officials said.There were 631 people still missing in the Butte County fire zones on Thursday night, though authorities were working to track them down. Officials asked residents to go to the Butte County Sheriff’s Department’s website to check the missing persons list to make sure they are not on it.Thom Porter, chief of strategic planning for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the death toll from the Camp Fire is expected to climb higher as search crews comb through more than 12,000 structures destroyed by the flames.“It is by far the most deadly single fire in California history and it’s going to get worse, unfortunately,” Porter said of the Camp Fire.California Gov. Jerry Brown toured the devastation caused by the Camp Fire on Wednesday with Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The government leaders visited the firefighters still battling the inferno, which has burned an area of 142,000 acres and obliterated the city of Paradise, ravaging nearly every home in the bucolic community of 30,000 people.“This is one of the worst disasters I’ve ever seen in my career, hands down,” Long said at a news conference Wednesday in Northern California.Brown said the destruction “looks like a war zone.” He said he spoke earlier Wednesday to President Donald Trump, “who pledged the full resources of the federal government” to help in the recovery effort.Trump said he plans to visit the area on Saturday to meet with survivors and firefighters.A public health emergencyU.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday declared a public health emergency in California, where the wildfires have forced the evacuation of at least two hospitals and eight other health facilities.“We are working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities to provide whatever they may need to save lives and protect health,” Azar said in a statement. “This declaration will help ensure that Americans who are threatened by these dangerous wildfires and who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care they need.”A smoke advisory was issued for portions of Los Angeles County amid concerns that smoke from the fires could present a “significant health threat” for people with asthma and other lung conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The best time to venture outside will be in the early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun told reporters Wednesday night, blaming the light winds for the continued poor air quality.On Saturday, stronger northeast winds mixing in the valley will help improve the air quality, according to Braun.Lisa Almaguer, public information officer for Butte County Public Health, recommended residents stay indoors as much as possible and to wear properly fitting masks when going outside.In addition, an outbreak of norovirus has occurred at one of the shelters, Almaguer said, describing its presence as “not uncommon,” especially at this time of year and “with hundreds of people living in close quarters.”People who are ill at the shelter have been taken to a separate location, are using separate restroom facilities and are being cared for by public health experts, according to Almaguer.Battle rages onThousands of exhausted firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California appeared to be getting a handle on the two massive blazes this week.Chief Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said weather conditions at both fires have improved and the strong winds firefighters were seeing over the past three days have started to dissipate.But Pimlott said “critical fire conditions” still existed with an abundance of dry vegetation in both fire zones that could flare-up with the slightest spark.“We’re not keeping our eye off this ball at all,” Pimlott said Wednesday, adding that 9,000 firefighters were working on the front lines of both blazes.Firefighters, with the help of out-of-state fire crews, were showing progress in their twin battles to subdue the widely destructive blazes that have blackened a combined acreage larger than the size of New York City.The Camp Fire showed “continued activity” on its northeast side, along the Feather River drainage basin, as it pushed toward the community of Big Bar, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced Tuesday night.The lower part of the area continued to be a challenge because of the “extremely steep, extremely rocky” terrain, fire officials said.Dry conditions will continue this week but precipitation is expected next week, Braun said.Camp FireThe Camp Fire ignited Nov. 8 in Northern California’s Butte County and has since burned an area of 142,000 acres. The flames were 45 percent contained on Friday morning.The death toll from the monstrous blaze now stands at 63, making it the deadliest single wildfire in California’s recorded history. Officials have tentative confirmation of the identities of 53 of those found dead but are awaiting DNA confirmation, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters Thursday night.The sheriff warned that the remains of some of the missing may never be recovered due to the severity of the fire.Two prison inmate firefighters were among three injured battling the Camp Fire, fire officials told ABC News.Many of the deaths from the Camp Fire have taken place in Paradise, which has been virtually destroyed by the flames.“The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now,” Paradise City Council Member Melissa Schuster, who lost her home in the calamity, told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. “In addition to that, and this is the hardest part for me to even talk about, is the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don’t know at this moment and that’s something that has to be determined before people can move back in.”Schuster said teams from the Butte County coroner’s office are combing through thousands of destroyed homes and burned cars in Paradise.“We will rebuild our homes, we will rebuild our town stronger, better, safer and more beautiful than ever,” she told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.Woolsey FireThe Woolsey Fire, which also started on Nov. 8, rapidly spread from Southern California’s Ventura County to Los Angeles County, jumping the 101 Freeway before sweeping through the celebrity enclaves of Malibu and Calabasas.Authorities had warned the flames could potentially spread all the way to the Pacific Ocean.It has burned 98,362 acres and was 69 percent contained on Friday morning, as firefighters successfully stretched containment lines. But the blaze has already damaged or destroyed nearly 800 structures, including many homes and a legendary Hollywood film set.The fire burned down a portion of Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills known as “Western Town,” where hundreds of movies and television shows, including HBO’s “Westworld,” have been filmed, dating back to the 1920s.The blaze has been blamed for the deaths of at least three people, and three firefighters sustained injuries while battling the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.On Tuesday, fire crews quickly smothered a flare-up in the Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley areas of Ventura County that was threatening to take off in the gusty weather.“We are not out of the woods yet. We still have tough conditions,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said the Woolsey Fire, which has spread to an area larger than the size of Denver, was the biggest his department has battled in 100 years.Despite Tuesday’s flare-up, Osby said, “We are getting the upper hand” on the blaze.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Third judge halts Trump plan for Census 2020 citizenship question

first_imgiStock/liveslow(WASHINGTON) —  A third federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the matter.District Court Judge George Hazel of Maryland determined that the Commerce Department, led by Secretary Wilbur Ross, made an “arbitrary and capricious” decision to add the question to the survey and violated the Constitution “by unreasonably compromising the distributive accuracy of the Census” — a risk of undercounting, in other words.Hazel ordered the administration to remove the question from the census questionnaire.While critics of the administration have alleged that Ross is motivated by animus against Hispanics and other minorities, Judge Hazel said there was insufficient evidence to support claims of “invidious racial discrimination” or attempts to violate civil rights by including the question.Earlier this year, federal judges in two separate legal challenges to the citizenship question reached similar conclusions and ordered it struck from the Census.The Supreme Court later agreed to hear an expedited appeal by the Commerce Department, which said it needs to finalize the census questionnaire for printing no later than June 30. Oral arguments have been scheduled for April 23.At issue in the case is the Administrative Procedures Act which requires federal agencies to carefully study all relevant evidence and facts pertaining to a problem before implementing a new policy. The agency must also publicly lay out the reasons for a decision and allow public comment.The Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Department, had suggested to agency leadership that citizenship estimates could be more accurately derived from mining existing government records rather than add a question to the 2020 census questionnaire. They said it would be potentially less effective and more expensive.A citizenship question has not been included in a U.S. census since 1950. A coalition of local governments and immigrant advocacy groups has called the question discriminatory and unconstitutional.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

‘True carnage’: Semi truck driver charged in horrific Colorado crash that killed 4

first_imgMattGush/iStock(LAKEWOOD, Colo.) — A semi driver is facing homicide charges Friday after four people were killed in a horrific, fiery crash involving 28 vehicles on a Colorado highway.Joshua McCutchen said he noticed a semi barreling down the emergency lane before he saw fire, smoke and explosions.“I’ve never seen that many cars and that much destruction and fire,” he told “Good Morning America.” “It was just complete chaos.”Six people were taken to hospitals in unknown conditions after the crash Thursday on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, about 8 miles west of Denver.Officials said Friday they’re working to identify the victims.There is no indication this was an intentional act, officials said.The accident occurred Thursday about 4:30 p.m. when a semitrailer traveling at a high rate of speed slammed into several stopped cars during a traffic jam, police said.Four semis and 24 cars were involved in the crash, officials said Friday.Six people were taken to hospitals in unknown conditions after the crash Thursday on Interstate 70 in Lakewood, about 8 miles west of Denver.Officials said Friday they’re working to identify the victims.There is no indication this was an intentional act, officials said.The accident occurred Thursday about 4:30 p.m. when a semitrailer traveling at a high rate of speed slammed into several stopped cars during a traffic jam, police said.Four semis and 24 cars were involved in the crash, officials said Friday.The driver of one of the semis, Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, 23, of Texas, is being charged with four counts of vehicular homicide, police said.He was not seriously injured, officials said.There’s no evidence of drugs or alcohol, officials said.Lakewood Police spokesman Ty Countryman said the semi diver “can’t stop, doesn’t stop, and ends up colliding with several cars. And a result of that, the fire ensues.”Countryman said the accident could end up being one of the worst in the city’s history.“It is true carnage there as far as the debris, what’s left of cars and trucks, along with the cargoes that were in the semis,” Countryman said.Brian Dickey, who was caught up in the accident, told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH that the back of his truck “lifted up and shoved me forward.”“I was hitting other cars. When I came to a stop, I look in my rear view mirror and all I saw was a bunch of flames” he said. “And I jumped out of the vehicle as fast as I could. There was so much fire at the time that I couldn’t even really approach any of the other vehicles to see if there was any other survivors or what.”McCutchen said he saw a man who had been holding a cardboard sign and asking for money rush to the scene and pull people out of the fiery wreckage.“He’s definitely a hero — he saved four people’s lives,” McCutchen said.Investigators say they are reviewing video of a semi speeding past stopped cars just seconds before the collision.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Police still searching for bodies of missing North Carolina men believed to be dead

first_imgRaleigh Police Department (RALEIGH, N.C.) — Police in North Carolina are still searching for the bodies of two men they believe were killed by two suspects who have been charged with their deaths.James Daishawn Robinson, 21, and Ryan Craig Veach, 19, were charged on Saturday with two counts of murder in the deaths of 23-year-old Brendan Hurley and 21-year-old Anthony McCall, according to the Raleigh Police Department.A third person, an unidentified juvenile, was charged with accessory after the fact to the murder, according to police.Police have not said how the men were killed or commented on any possible motive. As of Tuesday morning, the bodies of Hurley and McCall had still not been found.Hurley and McCall were last seen on July 16 and were reported missing the following day.An unidentified man who called police said that Hurley went over to a friend’s house the night before but hadn’t been seen since, according to a recording of the call.“He was supposed to pick me up at 9 p.m. He has not. He’s gone and he didn’t show up for work,” the caller said.He called Hurley a “very responsible young man.”“I need to make a report that he’s missing and something is wrong,” he added.Hurley left behind a 2-year-old daughter.“It’s so sad too because she’s not going to see her dad by a choice that wasn’t given to her,” Laura Hurley, the victim’s mom, told Raleigh ABC affiliate WTVD-TV Monday. “She’s two and now it’s going to be up to us to make sure that she knows who he was and how much he loved her. And it’s so unfair. It’s so unfair what everybody is feeling, friends, families.”McCall’s father, Mark, told the station that Hurley picked up his son around 6:30 p.m. on July 16 to head to McCall’s mother’s house to let her dogs out.It was the last time the two men were seen.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

As a pair of 13-year-olds face murder charges in deaths of 2 firefighters, outrage grips California town

first_imgiStock(LOS ANGELES) — As a pair of 13-year-old boys await arraignment on murder charges in the deaths of two firefighters who were killed battling an arson blaze that destroyed a rural California town’s library, outrage has erupted in the community over state laws barring the prosecution of the juveniles in adult court.The tragedy has left residents of Porterville, a town of roughly 60,000 in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley, grieving over the deaths of Capt. Raymond Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones, and angry that the two young suspects could face as little as 10 years in a juvenile facility if convicted.“Even if we are not big fans of the law, we still have to follow it,” Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil said at a news conference announcing the arrests of the juvenile suspects.The suspects, whose names have not been released, were each charged with murder on Friday for allegedly setting the fire that destroyed the town’s 67-year-old library and ended up killing Jones and Figueroa when they rushed inside the burning structure to search for victims.In an unusual move, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward released a video statement before the charges were even filed to explain the “significant limitation” his office faces in prosecuting the boys in the California juvenile justice system.“I know it may be frustrating, but 13-year-olds cannot be tried as adults in California, even for crimes such as murder,” Ward said in his statement. “I’m certain this information may be met with outrage. This is why myself, and many district attorney’s across the state were against these changes to the law.”“When criminal justice reform advocates and legislators consider the mistakes that juveniles often make, I suspect they’re talking about shoplifting and beer runs,” Ward added. “Nevertheless, justice reform holds consequences and today we may be witnesses to that.”He said legislation signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown not only eliminated the ability to prosecute offenders as old as 15 in adult court, but it also put severe limitations on the punishment that can be doled out.“In any juvenile case in this state, even if the most serious charges of murder are filed and found to be true, 13-year-olds cannot be held in custody once they reach the age of 25. That is simply the law of Califonia,” Ward said. “Not surprisingly, current law drops that age to 23 for many crimes we all consider to be serious and violent.”Ward added that a law that went into effect on Jan. 1 changes the state’s felony murder rule to further limit the criminal exposure for suspects of dangerous felonies, who are not the actual killer or who did not act with the intent to kill.“As we move forward, know this: My office will be dogged in the pursuit of justice for the destruction of the Porterville library and the tragic deaths of two brave firemen,” Ward said. “But as we do so, we will be constrained within the parameters of the law and I will also be limited from sharing with you legally enough information.”The deadly fire broke out inside the 18,000-square-foot library around 4:14 p.m. on Feb. 18, officials said.Jones, 25, and Figueroa, 35, were part of the Engine 71 crew that was first to arrive on the scene as heavy smoke poured from inside the library, officials said. Uncertain that everyone was evacuated, the two firefighters entered the burning building to search for victims. Shortly after they radioed a “mayday” call from inside.Figueroa was quickly found by a search crew and removed from the burning structure, authorities said. But heavy flames and the collapsing roof of the building forced rescuers to retreat before they could find Jones.Capt. Figueroa died at a hospital while Jones’ body wasn’t recovered until early the next morning, officials said.Porterville Police Chief Eric Kroutil said investigators were told by witnesses that two boys were seen running from the library as the fire erupted. He said the two suspects were quickly tracked down and arrested.“Our investigation determined that these two juveniles did start the fire intentionally,” Kroutil said.Kroutil, like prosecutors, said new laws protecting juvenile suspects made the investigation “challenging.”“Once we determined that they were suspects in the crime, there was no more questioning for the juveniles,” Kroutil said. “We have to rely on other investigative means to confirm their involvement.”The suspects are being held at a juvenile facility and are expected to be arraigned in juvenile court on March 11.“In my opinion, if this were 17-year-olds then they would be tried as adults in criminal court and facing extremely lengthy prison terms,” Kroutil said. “That’s not going to happen in this case. By law, it cannot.”Local residents took to social media to vent their frustrations at the state’s criminal justice system.“These boys should go to jail for life!!! Those boys knew what they did was wrong! No excuses!!” one local resident wrote on the Facebook page of the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper.Another resident wrote, “They MURDERED 2 people. They are old enough to be held accountable and charged as adults. Period.”Michael Mendoza, national director of the criminal justice reform group #cut50 in Oakland, California, told the Washington Post that while he understands the outrage in Porterville, the laws were changed in California to protect young children.“We still have the opportunity to intervene in and impact the lives of two 13-year-olds, who are kids,” Mendoza told The Post.The families of Figueroa, a father of two children, and Jones, who was engaged to be married, released statements on Sunday focusing on how the men lived.“Patrick was a shining light in this world and will continue to shine down on us from above,” the statement released by Jones’ family and fiancée reads.Figueroa’s family’s statement recalled the captain’s motto in life: “I am far from knowing it all, but I am driven to learn it all.”“Although we are heartbroken, we find comfort knowing he died doing what he loved in the accompaniment of a fellow brother (his Jonesy),” the Figueroa family statement reads. “We are so proud of all he accomplished and he will always be our HERO.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more