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Child Molester DA Refused To Charge As Adult Has Now Been Charged With Murder

Kern County, CA – The 26-year-old transgender child molester who was sentenced as a juvenile due to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s sweeping policy changes has been charged with first-degree murder in Kern County.

Kern County prosecutors announced the first-degree murder charge against Hannah Tubbs, a transgender woman also known as James Tubbs, on May 10, KABC reported.

According to the criminal complaint, Tubbs allegedly murdered and robbed Michael Clark in Lake Isabella on April 21, 2019, according to the New York Post.

Clark, who was from Washington, was visiting Kern County with friends when he disappeared on May 2, 2019, KGET reported.

His body was found in the Kern River in August of 2019.

Tubbs appeared in court in Bakersfield on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery, KABC reported.

Her bail was set at $1 million.

Tubbs’ next court hearing is slated for May 20, according to KGET.

Tubbs was previously sentenced to two years in a youth treatment facility due to Gascon’s refusal to try her as an adult for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Denny’s restaurant on New Year’s Day of 2014, KTTV reported.

Tubbs was two weeks shy of her 18th birthday at the time of the attack.

Prosecutors said Tubbs identified as a male at the time, but started identifying as female when she was arrested for the offense years later, according to FOX News.

She could be released from juvenile lockup as early as June, according to FOX News.

Tubbs was being held in the men’s portion of the Kern County jail on Tuesday.

Kern County prosecutors referred to the suspect as James Edward Tubbs during Tuesday’s court hearing, according to FOX News.

Since shortly after taking office in December of 2020, Gascon has flatly refused to prosecute juvenile offenders as adults, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The progressive district attorney defended his sweeping policy change by citing studies that indicate the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25.

He has argued that putting young adults in adult prisons would only make them more hardened, but that they could be rehabilitated if kept in the juvenile court system, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tubbs was recorded in a jailhouse phone calls laughing and bragging about the fact that she wouldn’t have to register as a sex offender or to serve time in prison due to Gascon’s policies, FOX News reported.

“I’m gonna plead out to it, plead guilty,” she said in one recording. “They’re gonna stick me on probation, and it’s gonna be dropped, it’s gonna be done, I won’t have to register, won’t have to do nothing.”

Tubbs’ father asked her if she would be required to register as a sex offender, at which point Tubbs gloated she “won’t have to do none of that,” according to FOX News.

“So, what are they going to do to you then?” her father inquired.

“Nothing!” she responded before breaking into laughter.

Tubbs also made multiple explicit remarks about the 10-year-old victim, which FOX News refused to print due to their callousness.

“I was young and I was hungry for some meat,” she was recorded saying at one point, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On one call, Tubbs told the person he was talking to that they needed to use female pronouns when speaking about her.

“They’re going to put me with other trannies that have seen their cases like mine or with one tranny like me that has a case like mine,” Tubbs said, according to FOX News. “So, when you come to court, make sure you address me as her.”

“I know it will be hard, but you have to do it,” she added, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sources said the recordings were made between November of 2021 and mid-January of this year, and that Gascon’s office was well aware of them, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But due to Gascon’s refusal to prosecute her as an adult, the most California Superior Court Judge Mario Barrera could legally sentence her to was two years in a juvenile facility, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I want to be clear. The filing of a transfer motion is entirely within the discretion of the district attorney,” Barrera said during a hearing on Jan. 27.

The judge noted he was “extremely limited” in the sentences he could impose due to Gascon’s refusal to transfer the case to adult court, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tubbs, who has already been in custody for one year, will serve the balance of her sentence in a juvenile facility, which Barrera noted was required by law.

Since Gascon refused to prosecute the case in adult court, Tubbs also won’t be required to register as a sex offender, the New York Post reported.

Deputy District Attorney Shea Sanna said Barrera’s “hands were tied” because of Gascon’s policy, FOX News reported.

“[He] decided he did not have the authority to issue an order housing Tubbs in county jail or with the sheriff’s department,” Sanna said, according to FOX News.

Sanna told the Los Angeles Times he received access to the jailhouse recordings on Jan. 20 and that two of Gascon’s top aides were both aware of what Tubbs had said, the Los Angeles Times reported.

He said he was pulled off of the case a day after he notified his supervisors about Tubbs’ comments.

Despite allegations his office was aware of the jailhouse recordings, Gascon released a statement Feb. 21 claiming he had no knowledge about Tubbs’ comments until after she was sentenced.

“Ms. Tubbs had several charges in other counties after the juvenile offense but never received any services which both her past behavior and that subsequent to her arrest demonstrates she clearly needs,” Gascon said, according to FOX News. “After her sentencing in our case, I became aware of extremely troubling statements she made about her case, the resolution of it and the young girl that she harmed.”

Gascon claimed his office “learned a lot from the Hannah Tubbs case about the need for a policy safety valve.”

“Like every responsible office, we learn as we go, take feedback from the community, and make necessary adjustments based on our experiences and the complex nature of this work,” he wrote, according to FOX News.

Gascon’s office walked back some of the sweeping policies in a series of memos to staff members in February, noting that exceptions will be made in certain cases involving juveniles in order for them to be tried in adult court from here on out.

Prosecutors said the 2014 attack occurred at a Denny’s restaurant in Palmdale, KTTV reported.

Tubbs grabbed the child by the throat, locked her inside a stall, then shoved her hand down the girl’s pants and sexually assaulted her, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“[Tubbs] immediately attacked her, restrained her, and he physically penetrated her in a sexual manner,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John McKinney told KTTV.

The attack only ended when someone walked into the bathroom, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Tubbs fled the restaurant and wasn’t apprehended until 2019, when a DNA sample taken from her in connection with a burglary arrest in Idaho linked her to the 2014 assault.

“He went unidentified for several years until a cold DNA hit identified him as someone who was arrested in the state of Idaho,” McKinney told KTTV.

McKinney said Tubbs racked up a slew of other criminal charges after sexually assaulting the little girl, to include being convicted of multiple assaults with deadly weapons.

Tubbs has also been arrested on probation violation, battery, and drug possession offenses out of both Washington state and Idaho, and has a pending misdemeanor case open in one jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, who works in the Complex Child Abuse Unit, told the New York Post that the little girl isn’t Tubbs’ only victim.

“There are some cases where the juvenile has committed a violent crime against an innocent victim and is dangerous to society. Tubbs is one of those cases,” Hatami said. “She is now 26 years old. Unlike George Gascon’s false narrative, she is not a ‘kid.’ She has a violent criminal record as an adult. She has also sexually assaulted two young girls in different incidents. Young, innocent girls who will now have to deal with lifelong trauma.”

“Tubbs had a very lengthy criminal record before George Gascon allowed Tubbs to be sentenced to minimal time in a juvenile facility, which included arrests and convictions for murder, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and even a prior sexual assault of a four-year-old girl,” Hatami told FOX News.

The four-year-old was allegedly molested by Tubbs in a library in August of 2013 as the little girl’s mother was looking at books “just a few aisles” away, according to Hatami.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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