Los Angeles, CA – The mother of a 20-year-old man who was brutally stabbed, beaten, and thrown off of a cliff watched his accused killers smirk in court as their special charges were dismissed under the newly-elected district attorney’s sweeping reforms on Friday.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, whose campaign was heavily funded by liberal billionaire George Soros, has also announced a slew of other reforms, including reexamining officer-involved shootings, eliminating the state’s “three strikes law,” ending the death penalty and cash bail, and resentencing tens of thousands of convicts, according to the Washington Examiner.
The newly-elected prosecutor said he will also decline to prosecute certain misdemeanor cases, including resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, drug possession, prostitution, and loitering.
Desiree Andrade said the special charges dismissals mean her son’s alleged killers won’t have to worry about possibly spending the rest of their lives in prison if they are convicted, KTTV reported.
It was a decision Gascon’s office made without ever even speaking to her about her son’s murder, Desiree told the news outlet.
“It’s sick. This is all sick,” she said. “I felt let down by this justice system.”
Julian Andrade, 20, was attacked in May of 2018 by five suspects who believed he had stolen marijuana from them, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said he was pummeled with a rock, a metal chair, and a glass pipe during the vicious assault, according to KCBS.
He was stabbed and beaten until he lost consciousness, at which point the group loaded him into a vehicle and headed to Azusa to dump his body, KTTV reported.
Along the way, they realized Julian wasn’t dead, so they stomped on his head, according to prosecutors.
They allegedly ended up throwing him off of a cliff, but he still continued to fight for his life, KTTV reported.
One member of the group ultimately clambered down and viciously beat him for a third time, prosecutors said.
Julian’s body was discovered two days later, KTTV reported.
“They brutally murdered my son,” Desiree told the news outlet. “Every day I miss my son. I wake up thinking of him. I have panic attacks thinking about the pain that he went through and that I was not there to help.”
Julian left behind a nine-month-old child and had another baby on the way when he was killed, KCBS reported.
Police later arrested Matthew Martin Capiendo Luzon, 21, Jacob Hunter, 19, Francisco Amigon, 19, Hercules Dimitrios Balaskas, 19, and Andrew Joseph Michael Williams in connection with Julian’s murder.
They were all charged with residential robbery, murder and kidnapping, KCBS reported.
Luzon, Hunter, Amigon, and Balaskas were also charged with a special circumstance of lying in wait.
They could have faced a possible life sentence or the death penalty if convicted.
Desiree said two of her son’s accused killers were visibly giddy when the court dismissed the special circumstances charges against them on Friday, KTTV reported.
“Smirking from ear to ear. One of the lawyers giving one of them a fist bump on his shoulder, like ‘Good job, way to go.’ Really?” she recounted. “They thought my son was dead three different times, and yet, they continued to beat my son to death. You’re going to tell me those aren’t murderers?”
As a result of the dismissals, the suspects could be released onto parole in as little as 20 or 30 years, even if they are convicted of murder, KTTV reported.
Desiree said Gascon’s sweeping reforms have been a slap in the face for crime victims and their families.
“I don’t ever want to stand here and tell my grandkids, ‘You know what? The law changed and I just sat back and watched,'” she told KTTV. “Absolutely not. I’m going to fight for him.”
Gascon’s office also recently dismissed all gun enhancement and special circumstances of multiple murders against Rhett Nelson, who has been accused of fatally shooting off-duty Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano in the back of the head while he was waiting for his order at a Jack in the Box restaurant in June of 2019, KTTV reported.
Approximately one hour before Deputy Solano’s assassination, Nelson allegedly murdered 31-year-old Dmitry Koltsov in a separate attack, according to police.
Investigators honed in on Nelson after they received a phone call from his father in Utah, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Bradley Nelson told Long Beach police that his son called him and spoke of “committing murder in Southern California,” and referenced having killed two people.
Police were able to trace the number the accused gunman called from to a local church, and arrested Nelson after he tried to flee the area in a vehicle, police said at the time.
Nelson was subsequently charged with one count of attempted murder, two counts of murder, and multiple counts of second-degree robbery, KTTV reported.
If convicted of the charges against him, as well as the gun enhancement and special circumstances of multiple murders, Nelson could have spent the rest of his life in prison.
But due to Gascon’s reforms agenda, Nelson could be eligible for parole in the future if he is convicted.
Gascon’s transition team said that is exactly the outcome the newly-elected prosecutor is hoping for.
“The defendant is facing a sentence of 40 years to life in prison, but there is no sentence that can undo the harm caused in this case,” the team told KTTV in a statement.
“There is a possibility that decades from now, the parole board could determine he’s been rehabilitated,” Gascon’s office reasoned. “Such a determination, many years from now, would ultimately be a reflection of a system and the public alike weighing their continued interest in incarcerating a man who no longer poses a threat to society at an extraordinary taxpayer cost.”
“Eliminating that remote possibility today may not be in the public’s interest decades from now,” the prosecutor’s office argued.
Gascon’s office also claimed that “eliminating excessive sentences enhances safety,” according to the Washington Examiner.
Deputy Solano’s sister, Christina Solano, said Gascon didn’t even bother to speak with her prior to issuing his “disgusting” request to the court, KTTV reported.
“He’s never come to me, never talked to me about my family, my brother. He should be there for us, not these crazy people in jail,” she said. “It’s disgusting, and he’s disgusting.”
Faced with immense backlash over his sweeping reforms, Gascon reversed course on some of the prosecuting alterations he announced when he first took office in early December, KABC reported.
According to a memo released by his office on Friday, Gascon will allow deputy district attorneys to seek sentencing enhancements for certain financial crimes, sex trafficking, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse, and hate crimes.
Gascon said his original directive has been amended in order to “to allow enhanced sentences in cases involving the most vulnerable victims and in specified extraordinary circumstances. These exceptions shall be narrowly construed,” KABC reported.