Last spring, at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he wanted to release about 2,000 state prisoners to save them from the pandemic that promised to turn the prisons into COVID-19 killing fields.
These would be inmates with less than a year to serve and who were not deemed to be public safety menaces. He urged local officials to do the same with their jails.
As it turned out, predictions of mass deaths in correctional facilities were wrong.
So were promises that only non-violent offenders would be freed. In fact, the parole board embarked on a freeing frenzy of convicted killers. And at least one judge made a fatal mistake by freeing a violent detainee.
Oh, and guess how many inmates — in all of Virginia’s prisons and jails — have died of COVID-19?
Last time I checked – yesterday – the number stood at 15.
Perhaps you heard over the weekend about the murder of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez of Alexandria. Police say she was shot to death on July 29 by the man who was charged with raping, abducting and attempting to strangle her last year.
That man, Ibrahim E. Bouaichi, 33, should be sitting in a jail cell waiting for his trial on six felony charges. Instead, he was released in the wave of COVID-19 hysteria that’s swept Virginia.
In April, Circuit Court Judge Nolan “What Was He Thinking” Dawkins, who has since retired, released Bouaichi on a $25,000 bond with the stipulation that the accused rapist could leave his Maryland home to only meet with lawyers. Prosecutors objected to the release, but lawyers for Bouaichi argued that their client’s health was in danger and so was theirs when they visited him.
Yet The Washington Post reports that there had not been a single case of the coronavirus in the Alexandria jail at the time of Bouaichi’s release. The judge did not order him to be electronically monitored.
Within a month, Bouaichi was arrested again. This time at a Beltsville, Md., Wendy’s where he rammed a police car and was charged with four counts of assault, drunk driving and harming a police dog.
He was released from jail there, too, after one night. Apparently cell doors are swinging open everywhere.
Two months later Ms. Gonzalez was gunned down outside her Alexandria apartment.
After a manhunt and pursuit by federal marshals in Prince George’s County, Md., last Wednesday, Bouaichi crashed his car and shot himself. He died on Saturday.
He isn’t the only violent criminal freed during the coronavirus crisis.
The parole board – which was just spanked by Virginia’s inspector general for violating policy after policy for its release of cop killer Vincent Martin — has been busy releasing murderers.
There was Debra Scribner, freed after serving only 8 years of her 23 year sentence for murder. Killers Donald Lee Brooks, Dwayne Markee Reid, and Horace Eugene Burnette III are out. So is Patrick Schooley Jr. who raped, abducted and stabbed to death a 78-year-old woman and who was serving three life sentences.
All free. Back in our communities.
News flash: Prisoners are not dying of the virus. Mask ‘em up and keep them behind bars. The public has enough to worry about without criminals on the loose.
This column was republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.
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