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News

Clerical Error May Have Caused Suspected Teen Killer to Remain on Streets

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The murder of 17-year-old Lily Burk captured the city's attention a few weeks ago when she left her Los Feliz home on an errand to Southwestern University for her mother, a professor there. Burk encountered Charles Samuel, a parolee, who abducted her and tried to get money out of her via Burk's credit card at several ATMs. It didn't work and she was left with a slashed throat in a parked car in Skid Row. Samuel was arrested a half hour later, albeit for a different reason. Police only connected him to the murder in the following days.

Now in a Los Angeles Times review of court documents and after interviews, it appears a clerical error let Samuel remain on the streets instead of remaining behind bars. It all had to do with California's three strikes law: "A San Bernardino County district attorney's official said he believed prosecutors would have filed the burglary charge as a third strike had Samuel's "rap sheet" properly shown that he had previous convictions that counted as two strikes rather than one."

There's no telling even if there was no error if Samuel would have been prosecuted.