A man is dead and a woman is in critical condition Monday after a possible domestic altercation at an Annapolis business, police said.At 1 a.m., officers responded to a shooting in the 300 block of Harry S. Truman Parkway where they found Tracy Lynn West, 43, and her estranged husband, Calvin Cofield, 50, suffering from gunshot wounds, said Anne Arundel County Lt. Francis Tewey.
Sources inside the Riverside County District Attorney's Office contend that under the leadership of Paul Zellerbach, the agency is compromising domestic violence victims in a drive to slash caseloads, limit jury trials and chalk up easy wins.But Zellerbach fired back that such allegations are "politically motivated." He told City News Service his office is meeting its public safety obligations and doing so more efficiently than under his predecessor.The ramifications of the district attorney's approach to case management has come into focus in the aftermath of the slaying of Kathryn Rose Sanchez, a 34-year-old mother of three killed in her Riverside apartment on June 15, 2012.Sanchez was stabbed and strangled by 36-year-old Antonio Carreon Jr., who immediately took his own life by lying in front of an approaching train, according to police.Carreon had a history of domestic violence and was alleged to have assaulted Sanchez on multiple occasions, spawning a police investigation that ended without any charges being filed.Some career agency employees wonder why.Sources who have served under three -- and in a few cases, four -- district attorneys contend that the way the Sanchez case was handled reflects a top-down change in values at the D.A.'s office that has resulted in a dismissive attitude toward domestic violence cases."Our district attorney has established a culture where victims of domestic violence are not important," according to a veteran Riverside County prosecutor, who spoke to City News Service on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation."That's clear in the statistics and in the filing decision in this case," the prosecutor said. "There have been orders, straight from the top, to maximize conviction rates regardless of the effect on victims of crime."The prosecutor maintained that the order of the day in the D.A.'s Office is to dispose of cases with an eye to attaining easy wins, even if it means giving defendants "sweetheart deals," or rejecting -- on dubious grounds -- cases submitted by law enforcement."And you end up with tragic situations like this, where the woman is dead, and her children have been orphaned," he said.A Riverside Police Department investigation into Sanchez's domestic violence allegations was completed before the murder-suicide. But the case was closed and no charges were filed in what remains a murky decision-making process. Police say the D.A.'s Riverside domestic violence unit decided not to proceed; the D.A.'s Office maintains that investigators never submitted the Carreon case for formal review.Two former Los Angeles County prosecutors consulted by CNS for their assessment of the handling of the case said that, based on the police report alone, there appeared to have been sufficient grounds to file felony charges against Carreon in December 2011."Under Rod Pacheco and my first boss, Grover Trask, we had a deep commitment to victims of domestic violence," according to the deputy district attorney who spoke anonymously. "We knew they were the toughest cases. But we were OK with that because we understood that it's the tough ones where you prove you're a real prosecutor. Grover and Rod expected us to fight hard for victims. That standard doesn't exist under Paul Zellerbach."Zellerbach said any suggestion he would seek to curtail the prosecution of domestic violence cases or other crimes to lengthen his office's win column is "personally offensive" and "makes absolutely no sense.""The emphasis here is on trying to achieve justice and fairness and at the same time protect the public," he told CNS. "To say I'm soft on a particular kind of crime -- what's the basis for that?
RACINE — At a county jail in Tennessee, a Racine man reportedly became emotional with a task force investigator who was explaining some paperwork that would send him back to Wisconsin.Ryan G. King had turned himself in on Jan. 17 to the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force investigator who stopped his sport utility vehicle in Millersville, Tenn. The convicted felon allegedly had confessed to having a gun beneath the driver’s seat.But at the Sumner County Jail, King uttered “words to the effect of ‘my baby — I killed my baby,’ ” according to the criminal complaint, which Racine County prosecutors released for the first time on Wednesday.King, 46, of the 1400 block of West Sixth Street, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon in the Jan. 17 death of his girlfriend, Lucinda White, 44.King sat silently Wednesday, at times with his head in his hand, as Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch set his bond at $500,000 cash during his initial appearance on those charges.Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete said King chased White down on the night of Jan. 16 and shot her in the street, execution style.“Mr. King basically hunted the victim down in a busy Downtown street,” Chiapete said in court.King tried to shoot his girlfriend with one gun, Chiapete said. But “when that gun jammed up, he used the other gun to basically execute her.”White’s death marks Racine’s first homicide of the year.The Racine woman called one of her sisters at about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 16, saying she and her boyfriend “were getting into it,” according to the complaint. When White’s sister arrived at her home, in the 700 block of Villa Street, the residence was dark and White didn’t respond when she honked the horn. So she left.But when police later arrived to check on White, officers found her lying in the middle of Sixth Street, suffering from a gunshot wound to her forehead, according to investigators. A witness reportedly told police that before they arrived, she heard two loud noises and a woman yelled “I (expletive) love you” before a man put a gun to the woman’s head and fired.Autopsy results show White died from a gunshot wound to the head.Assistant State Public Defender Ahmed Jenkins asked for “a reasonable cash bond” on Wednesday, saying King has worked at Racine Community Action for two years and has a degree in early childhood education.Authorities extradited King back to Racine, and he only arrived at the Racine County Jail Tuesday morning, jail booking records show. Millersville, Tenn., is 531 miles from Racine.White was shot near the 600 block of Sixth Street, according to Racine police. Officers responded at about 10:45 p.m. for reports of a person who was down and found White lying in the middle of the road — with the gunshot wound to her head and two in her arm, the complaint said.She was pronounced dead the next day, at about 7:30 p.m., police have said.King’s arrest in Tennessee came just a handful of hours before White died from her injuries, reports show.King’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7. Rudebusch ordered him to “have no contact whatsoever” with White’s family.About a dozen people attended King’s initial appearance, but none wanted to comment after the hearing.Chiapete said White’s domestic violence-related death is too familiar, similar to other recent cases.“It’s obviously concerning to us that it’s another domestic violence-related homicide,” Chiapete said after the hearing. “We take these matters as seriously as any cases out there.”But he said he couldn’t comment on whether police have ever been called to either of their homes for domestic-related incidents in the past.