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A Los Angeles district attorney blows up Thursday’s decision by Attorney George Gascón to drop the prosecutor’s offer for the death penalty if a woman and her boyfriend are accused of torturing and killing their 10-year-old son.
“This is not based on new evidence,” Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said, according to the City News Service. “This is not based on a new mitigation or a new law. I stand by the decision of the Special Circumstances Committee, which I made known to the court on file two years ago.”
In 2019, the then District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office announced that it would impose the death penalty on defendants Heather Maxine Barron, 31, and Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 35.
The two were charged with torture and murder, in the special circumstances of the murder of torture in the murder of Barron’s son Anthony Avalos in June 2018.
The decision was announced on Thursday and means Barron and Leiva can live a maximum of one life without parole.
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Hamami criticized several of the newly elected Gascón’s progressive policies that put him in office during last year’s protests against racial injustice, including that “a death sentence is by no means an appropriate solution,” the news service reported.
The boy was allegedly whipped, fell repeatedly on his head and had hot sauce poured in his mouth, according to Los Angeles KCAL-TV.
In another case, Assistant District Attorney Garrett Dameron alleged that he and another prosecutor “were ordered to waive the death penalty in exchange for punishment”, in the case of Michael Christopher Mejia, charged with the death of a police officer and his cousin has been .
“As a result of Mr Lewin’s and I’s appeals, and despite our efforts to prevent this, we have been ordered to remove the death penalty as a punishment in this case,” Dameron said during a hearing in February, the news service reported. The prosecution announced in 2018 that it would apply for the death penalty for Mejia.
Anthony Avalos’ father and other family members are suing the county, alleging social workers were negligent over reports of child abuse in the home, including two other children who lived in the home.
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“At any given time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to keeping children safe in our communities every day,” DCFS said in a statement from the Intelligence Service reported: “Our 9,000 employees do not take this responsibility lightly and strive to do everything possible to protect the children in our care. All DCFS employees work to the highest standards to ensure that public trust in our service is maintained and maintained . ”