The Globe reported Monday about a horrific crime committed in Sacramento: A “homeless” transient guy out on the streets despite his recent violation of parole, has been arrested for raping and murdering a Sacramento woman in the Land Park neighborhood Friday, killing her dogs and setting her house on fire.
Since then, the 3,500 prosecutors in the California District Attorneys Association confirmed that the suspect accused of the horrific sexual assault and brutal murder of the Sacramento woman on Friday September 3, 2021, was released from prison following felony convictions in 2017 and 2018 for assault with a deadly weapon and robbery, committed more crimes in June, and then was released again because of “zero bail” policies.
Wednesday, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela issued a statement that was not warmly received by some Sacramento residents. Here is what Steinberg and Valenzuela said:
The murder of Mary “Kate” Tibbitts, a well-loved resident of Land Park and a District 4 constituent, is a senseless tragedy. We mourn her death and the killing of her beloved dogs Molly and Ginny. We are thankful that first responders were dispatched quickly to her home when it was reported, and that the Sacramento Police Department has apprehended a suspect. But we’re frustrated and angry that this happened in the first place.
The suspect in this crime had been incarcerated as recently as June 2021, with a known addiction to methamphetamine and a history of violent offenses. We cannot simply release people from state prisons and county jails onto the streets without working harder to ensure that they are getting the treatment and services they desperately need to prevent them from harming themselves or others.
Further, based on his criminal history, we have serious concerns about how this individual was released from custody in the first place. He should not have been on the street.
While jail and reentry services are under the Sacramento County Sheriff’s and County Probation’s jurisdiction, we are committed to working with our county partners to prevent another tragedy from happening in our community.
We have spoken to County Supervisor Phil Serna, who is pushing for mandated treatment for people exiting the prison system with known methamphetamine issues. We plan to support him fully in those efforts, as well as efforts to continue to fund programs that serve people with methamphetamine addictions, like the Substance Use Respite and Engagement (SURE) program located in District 4. We also need to keep pushing for reentry services that ensure people exiting the jail have access to housing and supportive services, making it easier for us to check in on them and reduce the likelihood of further criminal activity.
We will also be working with our state and county partners to review the facts of this case and others to ensure that people with a history of serious, violent offenses are not being released into our city with little review or accountability as to their whereabouts. In the days ahead we will hold the Land Park community, and particularly Kate’s family and friends, in our hearts. We will work with residents on how we can all continue to enjoy the great quality of life in our neighborhoods and keep our families safe. We understand the profound anxiety and grief that this brutal killing has caused.
Our system is broken. We’re committed to continuing to work together to make this better for everyone.
Some residents addressed that it is the current politicians and political policies which led up to and allowed this violent crime to take place. Both Steinberg and Valenzuela have advocated for defunding the police as well as “bail reform:” zero bail policies.
Steinberg calls for sweeping changes to the Sacramento Police Department, but says it is not to “defund” the police. He called for changing police officer’s duties so “they would no longer respond to calls that don’t include a crime.”
This resulted in the city of Sacramento directing the police department to stop responding to all transient-related calls, unless it’s a “violent in progress.” Instead, residents of the community are directed to file online police reports, call 311 which is months behind, or the Department of Community Response, which isn’t fully operational yet, and cannot respond to calls in real time.
Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan proposed adding new police positions to the city budget, but Mayor Steinberg urged the City Council to reject the proposal, the Sacramento Bee reported. Steinberg said “that while he supports adding the positions to the next budget, which starts July 1, the money available now should instead be spent on sparking construction of affordable housing, youth programs and participatory budgeting.”
Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela pressed the City Council to remove a minimum $10 million in funding as a starting point, from the police department, among other policing “reforms.”
Here are a few comments left on Nextdoor Sacramento on Steinberg’s and Valenzuela’s statement about the murder:
- “Not enough – if those first steps listed are “systemic change”, then our representatives do not understand the failures, both active and latent, that ultimately have lead to this horrific episode. I hope the mayor and council member will draft another statement with real change to address our very real issues.”
- “The system is broken because of people like the mayor and KV. These are the same people that have done nothing productive to limit the affects of the roving bands of unhousable drug addicts that prowl our neighborhoods. Do you remember when that boy was assulted in front of Taylors? Did the mayor do anything? Did KV take a break from her activism? Now we have our first Murder. Truly tragic but preventable.”
- “PPP – Pure Political Pandering. They even got the dogs’ names in there.”
- “Pure Political Pablum, when outrage and revolutionary policy change is palpable in this, our community. Sad but what is, is!!”
- “Not exactly a tough on crime message.”
- “It seems that the ‘systemic change’ that Mr. Steinberg and Ms. Valenzuela are suggesting is: More free stuff for criminals and drug addicts to enjoy on the streets. I would suggest that keeping them behind bars is going to be much more effective. They will have a roof over their heads, three squares and hopefully drug treatment in prison.”
- “I deeply believe there is a lesson here, which if applied to todays mess would lead to a city’s redemption clearing the way for a safer healthier, cleaner community.”
- “He’s correct that it has caused anxiety and grief, but he underestimates the anger that this murder has caused.”
- “This crime is their fault because of their policies. Plain and simple.”
- “Nothing….absolutely nothing will change until you change it at the voting booth, and if you don’t expect it to get worse. Your neighborhood is not safe: you have subsidized housing and homeless camps all around you and growing…..there is more subsidized housing and more homeless camps being planned and built as we speak. The neighborhood is history…….options, get a gun and an alarm system and sleep with one eye open trying to protect your property and yourselves or get out…..It is that simple.”
- “It seems that we voted in the last election not to accept the no bail releases and now senate is preparing a new bill (SB 262) to remove the bail system again. California politics as usual not for the protection of the innocent.”
- “I will never understand why something bad has to happen before people get off their butts to make a change. He was not the only one released, what about the others that have being released from prisons and jails? Our safety must not be that important for the law makers to make changes more severe for those that kill, rape, burn homes and buildings down, kid nap and so on. I don’t blame the police at all when it comes to arresting and also using deadly force if need be, if our law makers made punishment more severe, we wouldn’t have repeat offenders. But till that happens , I guess the good tax paying people have to suffer and live in fear. Lock doors, windows and be ready for whatever may come to harm us. That’s the world we live in. Sad and disgusting. It really is.”
The brothers of the murdered woman, Kate Tibbitts, told Sacramento FOX40 that they and the California District Attorneys Association believe California’s “zero bail” policy failed their family.
“If he ends up being convicted, and we think he will, it is obvious that he should have never been released in the first place and given the freedom to commit his heinous crimes,” George Tibbitts said. “The priority has to be public safety,” George Tibbitts told FOX40. “This is not a new story. There are many victims of crimes committed by people out on bail. And it shouldn’t happen. Particularly, one so gruesome, as happened to our sister.”
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