Jane Yamamoto, David Gregory
A deal struck between the man accused of slaying four people in Northridge earlier this month and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office allowed Ka Pasasouk to avoid returning to prison and instead enter a drug diversion program. The DA’s office said on Monday it "inadvertently erred" in that decision, which went against the recommendations of the probation department. Jane Yamamoto reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2012.
Negotiations with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office allowed the man accused in a quadruple homicide in Northridge to avoid returning to prison and instead enter a drug diversion program months before he allegedly orchestrated the slayings of two men and two women outside an illegal boarding home.
The District Attorney’s office on Monday said it "inadvertently erred" in striking that deal, which went against recommendations by the probation department that Ka Pasasouk should return to prison for alleged possession of methamphetamines.
Timeline: Northridge Quadruple Homicide
"The District Attorney’s Office has conducted an internal review into the handling of the possession of methamphetamine case that resulted in Ka Pasasouk being placed on a Proposition 36 drug diversion program in Van Nuys in September," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office.
"The review shows that the office inadvertently erred in indicating the defendant was eligible for a Proposition 36 drug program. Training issues raised during the review will be addressed by the District Attorney’s Office countywide."
Pasasouk has a history of felony convictions dating back at least as far as 2006.
That year, he was targeted for deportation to his native Laos “based upon his criminal history” – which included felony assault and second-degree robbery – but a lack of paperwork halted the move.
In 2008, after Pasasouk was released from California State Prison, federal agents "took Pasasouk into custody, but was unable to obtain travel documents to facilitate his removal," according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Deportation to Laos historically has been problematic, ICE contends.
A Supreme Court ruling in the case of Zadvydas v. Davis in effect set a time limit of 180 days for deportation orders to be carried out. For Pasasouk, that meant his release.
Pasasouk was again sent to state prison in 2010 after conviction for "unlawful taking of a vehicle." He was released this past January and placed under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Probation Department.
Pasasouk never reported to his probation officer, according to Reaver Bingham, Probation Deputy Chief.
In September, Pasasouk faced a charge of illegal possession of methamphetamines. The probation department report to the court recommended Pasasouk be returned to prison. But the District Attorney's office negotiated an agreement whereby Pasasouk would plead no contest and be placed in a drug diversion program.
Judge Jessica Silvers approved the agreement, and Pasasouk was released, once again with the requirement he report to the probation department.
On Nov. 14, Judge Silvers issued a bench warrant for Pasasouk when he failed to appear on time to show proof of progress. He did appear later in the day, and the warrant was withdrawn.
Pasasouk still failed to report to his probation officer, and the department initiated the process to obtain a warrant. The paperwork was completed the day prior to the Dec. 2 homicides, according to Bingham.
ICE never took Pasasouk back into custody "since the agency still had no reasonable expectation of being able to carry out the court-issued removal order," according to the agency.