Hollywood Stabbing Suspect Was Arrested 46 Times [UPDATED]
The man charged with stabbing a woman to death on Hollywood Boulevard was released early from prison thanks to program designed for nonviolent offenders, news that is sure to have larger repercussions.
County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said today that Dustin James Kinnear—who's been charged with murder in the June 18 stabbing death of Christine Caldron—was recently paroled from prison, according to City News Service.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Kinnear's early release was through AB109, a state
cost-savings program. [Note: The Associated Press informed us their original article was not accurate: AB109 was designed to reduce prison overcrowding, not save money.]
Yaroslavsky is trying to put together a timeline in the county's handling of what turned out to be a high-risk individual, and whether Kinnear ever received a mental health evaluation. Kinnear's mother has told the media that her son had mental problems and that this kind of tragedy was "a matter of time."
"This timeline may contribute to our understanding of this specific situation and inform interventions to ensure that probationers are engaged in appropriate rehabilitative services, high risk incidences are deterred, and public safety is preserved," Yaroslavsky said. In other words, he wants to make sure that no one drops the ball like this again any time soon.
When the three men appeared in court for arraignment, both Kinnear and Jason Joel Wolstone, 33, one of the other transients charged with a lesser offense in the crime, were wearing yellow prison clothes, which typically designate psychological issues of some kind, CNS reports.
According to Sheriff's Department records, Kinnear was in and out of county jails five times during April and May, for stretches ranging from two to nine days. At least three of those instances seem to be related to "flash incarcerations'' due to parole violations.
Kinnear was last released just 11 days before the fatal stabbing, which occurred around 8:10 p.m. on June 18 on on the crowded Hollywood Boulevard.
Calderon and a friend took cellphone pictures of three men panhandling and holding signs. The men asked her to give them $1 and when she refused, Calderon was stabbed, allegedly by Kinnear while Wolstone and Brian Joseph Widdows, who've been charged with accessory after the fact, allegedly restrained Calderon's friend.
All three men charged in the attack remain jailed and bail for Kinnear has been set at $1.03 million.
Yaroslavsky's request, supported by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors, comes as Gov. Jerry Brown seeks a stay from a federal court order to release an additional 10,000 inmates from state prisons to reduce overcrowding. This bit of news will surely help the governor's case.
UPDATE, 8:40 P.M.: AP told us the information they supplied in the Sacramento Bee story was incorrect: AB109 is not a "cost-saving program," but designed to reduce prison crowding.
However, the L.A. County Supervisor's office told LAist this evening that even if Kinnear's release is not considered an early one by the prison system, he should have served 1095 days but only ended up serving 96 because of discounts for time served.
The office also expressed surprise that Kinnear qualified for AB109 since he did not fit the criteria of being "non-serious, nonsexual, and nonviolent."
UPDATE, 5:24 P.M.: The LA Times is reporting that Kinnear was arrested 46 times over the last eight years, including seven arrests for assault with a deadly weapon. One of those included a November 2010 incident in which he attacked a security guard at a Hollywood Subway shop with a broomstick and allegedly said, "I'm going to kill you."
Kinnear got a year in jail for the felony assault plus three years probation. He received 49 days credit for time served and spent several months in jail before going on probation, according to the Times, but he quickly began violating those terms with new crimes.
In September 2011, his public defender, Marya Shahriary, told a judge about Kinnear's mental problems: "We have a young man who is bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic and epileptic." She said he had been taking klonopin and dilantin.
Shahriary said Kinnear had not been able to make all his court appearances because he was injured in a bike accident. She added he was "trying to turn his life around" by working at the West Hollywood Food Coalition.
Kinnear was arrested for two more assaults in 2012, including allegedly assaulting his girlfriend with a knife and brass knuckles. Both cases were eventually dismissed because the victims failed to show up for court.
His mother, April Pena, told a Tucson police detective that her son has been in and out of mental health treatment facilities since age 5 and suffered from multiple conditions that could make him violent.
"I always knew I would get a call about him being dead or doing something awful," said Pena. "Our family is beside itself. We are really sick because we know he's taken a life. We think of him as the young person we once knew. But I've called the police on him many times."
Pena says he left Tuscon after a court had ordered him to undergo mental health treatments and has been in Hollywood since 2008.
"There were red flags all over this guy, and system was color blind," LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky tells the newspaper.
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