On Wednesday, a 33-year-old man from Orange County went on a two-hour “anger”-fueled stabbing and robbing rampage that left four people dead and two wounded. On Thursday, more details about the suspect emerged, including that he is a gang member and convicted felon who managed to serve a stunningly brief sentence for a long list of serious crimes.
The mayor of the town where the suspect began his murderous spree said Thursday that the man should never have been released from prison, while local police pointed to policies pushed by left-wing politicians in recent years as the reason the convicted felon was free to carry out his horrific violence.
“Records indicate [the suspect] was sentenced to four years in state prison for 14 convictions, for drug possessions, possession of a firearm, an assault weapon and ammunition by a felon,” KABC reports. “Garden Grove Police Chief Tom DaRe said Castaneda had previously been incarcerated for possession of methamphetamine with the intention to distribute while armed with an assault weapon.”
Law enforcement officials told reporters Thursday that recent changes made in California Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109) — promoted and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 — significantly shortened the felon’s sentencing. An older California law then enabled him to reduce his time served by about half, allowing him to “earn a day of credit for each day served,” KABC explains.
The result is that the violent gang member’s prison sentence for 14 convictions lasted less than 16 months. He was released on Jan. 14, 2016.
Garden Grove Mayor Steven Jones blasted the policies, particularly AB 109, which allowed the violent criminal to go free. “He is a violent criminal who should have never been considered for release,” said Jones in comments reported by KABC.
Local police sources told The Daily Wire that some officers likewise blame left-wing policies and negligent progressive politicians for the ability of violent criminals like the suspect to continue to pose a threat to citizens.
“The suspect is a Proposition 47 candidate,” one police source told The Daily Wire in reference to a reduced-sentencing law backed by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris and passed in 2014, the year the felon was first incarcerated. While the “sales pitch” for both Proposition 47 and Proposition 57 was to “reduce jail overcrowding and focus on education and reform, rather than straight punishment,” the source said, political leaders failed to “follow through.”
“Brown pushed for the jail reform and won, but then never set anything up on the back end,” said the source. “No facilities have been created for mental health or drug rehab. So now the police can’t take people to jail, and they don’t have any rehabilitation clinics to bring them to. The state has basically put the burden on hospitals, which are not equipped to deal with these problems. … Brown made a lot more than one ‘train to nowhere’ during his time in office.”
After stabbing to death two men at his apartment complex, the suspect carried out what police say were “random” attacks on people at multiple locations, including a man at a gas station and a security guard at a 7-Eleven, where he was finally confronted by police and gave himself up. The Garden Grove Police Department posted one shocking surveillance video showing the man attacking a woman at an insurance company. Thankfully, the woman, who fought back courageously, survived (warning: graphic content):