LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office admitted it erred in allowing a man accused in four murders in Northridge to receive drug treatment instead of prison time.
The suspect, Ka Pasasouk, was in Van Nuys Superior Court back in September after being arrested on suspicion of drug possession.
He was on probation at the time, and the L.A. County Probation Department had urged that he be sent back to state prison for “long-term detention” because of his lengthy criminal record.
The recommendation was also based on the fact that Pasasouk had missed a meeting with a probation officer in one instance before the September hearing.
But prosecutors told the judge that Pasasouk was eligible for a drug diversion program under Proposition 36.
Judge Jessica Silvers ordered him to attend a drug treatment program and be released to the oversight of the Probation Department.
Had Pasasouk been sentenced to jail, he would have been incarcerated at the beginning of December, when he is accused of killing four people outside an unlicensed boarding home.
After an internal review of Pasasouk’s case, the D.A.’s office said in a statement that it “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,” the statement continued.
The D.A.’s office would not comment further or say whether any prosecutors were being disciplined.
Pasasouk, 31, is accused of fatally shooting two men and two women on Dec. 1 outside a home in the 14700 block of Devonshire Street.
The three other suspects are identified as Howard Alcantara, 30, of Glendale; Donna Rabulan, 30, of Los Angeles; and Christina Neal, 33, of Los Angeles.
Alcantra faces robbery and aiding a felon charges. Neal and Rabulan each face a charge of aiding a felon.
All four suspects were taken into custody on Monday, Dec. 3 at the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Police have been tight-lipped about a motive, but reports say the killings stemmed from a dispute over personal property, possibly a laptop computer.
Pasasouk has an extensive and violent criminal record that included recent prison stints, court records show.
In 2010, he pleaded no contest to unlawful taking of a vehicle and was sentenced to three years in state prison.
In 2006, he pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and assault likely to produce great bodily injury and was sentenced to state prison.
And in 2004, he was convicted in two more cases also involving unlawful taking of a vehicle.
Proposition 36 was a voter-approved ballot measure meant to send some nonviolent drug offenders into drug rehab rather than prison.
Suspects with previous convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as robbery and assault, are not eligible unless they have avoided prison during the previous five years.