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Murder by Policy: New Zealand Tourist Robbed, Murdered by Repeat Offenders

Gascon ‘has policies that call for keeping as many people out of jail as possible’

By Thomas Buckley, July 10, 2024 11:22 am

Eight days ago, a tourist from New Zealand was murdered at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

And last year, one of her alleged killers got the plea deal of a lifetime, courtesy of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon. 

Leroy Ernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Los Angeles, – the driver of the getaway car that hit Patricia McKay, 68, and then dragged her 65 feet – should not have been free to commit the crime.

But he was, thanks to the policies of Gascon.

McCrary and his two accomplices – they had jumped out of their car to try to steal, at gunpoint, the Rolex worn by McKay’s husband, Douglas – have been arrested and are facing a raft of charges, including murder with special circumstances.  In other words, this will almost certainly – especially in Orange County – a death penalty case.

McCrary specifically has prior felony convictions for residential burglary in 2018, criminal threats in 2020, and robbery in 2023, all in Los Angeles County.  It is the last case that is drawing the fury of the public and the (publicly) understated ire Gascon’s supposed law enforcement “partners” at the Santa Monica Police Department.

In 2023, the SMPD arrested McCrary for – again – trying to steal an expensive watch at gunpoint.  There was video surveillance of the crime and McCrary even touched the victims shirt, making a DNA test possible and it came back as positively identifying McCrary as the robber.

DNA testing in a robbery case, especially at such an early point in the process – is very rare, getting match even more so.

But Gascon’s office thought the evidence may be weak and last week said publicly that McCrary got a plea deal that involved a three year suspended sentence, two years’ probation and community service (the “sentence” also ran concurrent with his conviction for being a felon with a gun) in part because the case had “had significant problems with proof.”

The plea – also somewhat unusually – was negotiated even before McCrary’s preliminary hearing on the charge.

Santa Monica cops were not at all pleased with being thrown under the bus by Gascon, especially in light that saying the case had “problems with proof” is simply false.

Cody Green, president of the Santa Monica Police Officers Assn., told the Los Angeles Times that investigators had plenty of time to get a confirmatory DNA test and that the plea deal was made before any preliminary hearings were conducted.  

“This case was as solid a case as they come,” Green said.

A note for Gascon:  Never ever lie about something that is in writing…in someone else’s office.

Repeated attempts to reach Gascon’s office for further comment were ignored.

While it would not comment on whether it intentionally drew public attention to the McCrary plea, the SMPD did not agree with Gascon’s office’s assessment of the McCrary case:

“We stand by the work of our dedicated detectives and the impressive investigation of a 2022 robbery committed in Santa Monica by Leroy McCrary and Donta Baker.  The SMPD Criminal Investigations Division is known for relentless, meticulous, and thorough work solving crimes in our city,” said Lt. Erika Aklufi today.  “In this case, SMPD detectives conducted a comprehensive investigation that included: locating surveillance video that showed the crime in progress; tracking the getaway car; using social media to connect McCrary and Baker to one another and the crime; and collecting and testing DNA from the victim’s clothing.  Our detectives presented a solid case to the Deputy DA who was handling the prosecution.  The DNA, which was a match for McCrary, was being confirmed at the crime lab when, prior to the preliminary hearing, the DA made the decision to settle the case without custody time.”

That being said, the SMPD said it  “appreciates its long-standing, positive working relationship with the LA County District Attorney’s Office.”

Aklufi did add, though, that “(T)his incident is a cogent reminder that when we collaborate and communicate better with our partners in the criminal justice system, all those who are affected by crime benefit.  The SMPD has full faith that the Newport Beach Police Department and Orange County DA’s office is working together to ensure the individuals responsible for Trish McKay’s death are held accountable.”

The plea in the case  – a clear “Gascon Special” –  is exactly why the public overwhelmingly – when polled – feels far less safe than it did before Gascon’s 2020 election.

The specifics in this instance are especially tragic, but the decarceral ideology behind them is rife in Gascon’s office and that is why they happen.  While he did not sign off on the deal personally, it is Gascon’s policies that are the driving force causing these deals to be made.

“He has policies that call for keeping as many people out of jail as possible,” said one livid deputy district attorney.  “He has an agenda and has created an environment that makes clear that this is what he wants.”

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3 thoughts on “Murder by Policy: New Zealand Tourist Robbed, Murdered by Repeat Offenders

  1. And the idiotic voting laws in California (such as ballot harvesting) ensure the insanity will continue.

  2. Sadly this is happening all over California. The cancerous Gascon has tentacles beginning in San Francisco and created by none other than the Grim Reaper Newscum! Now families in New Zealand are living the heartache many here in California experience daily.
    May she rest in peace and her family being comforted.

  3. Welp…LA gets what it deserves. They voted for this madness after all. Just unfortunate that it is spilling over onto the rest of us that live next door. I can avoid LA (and I do like the plague) but I can’t always avoid the garbage that spews out of it.

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