FREE TO KILL: Tucson woman demands to know truth behind daughter’s death
Probation officers coming forward about dire problems in department
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Credible sources are coming forward saying Pima County’s mission to reduce the jail population is putting the public in danger.
Probation officers describe alarming cases of dangerous people being released and then ending up back in jail on murder charges.
One of the probation officers agreed to an interview with KOLD to shed light on critical concerns, but wanted to remain anonymous because of potential retaliation.
A History Of Violence
A dangerous felon on probation was ordered not to possess a weapon and was released repeatedly by the court.
The probation officers argue 20-year-old Andres Machado should have been sitting in jail awaiting trial.
The Tucson Police Department said while out on probation Machado fired a round into a car, hitting 18-year-old Emma Dominquez in the neck. Dominquez died despite life-saving efforts from her girlfriend.
“She’s an amazing person,” said Emma’s mother Leanna Alverez.
Emma had just turned 18 and was just week away from her high school graduation.
Alverez didn’t know Machado or any relationship between the two.
“Nothing,” she said, “I’ve never seen this person in my life. Never heard of him.”
She didn’t know about Machado’s long list of misdemeanor and felony charges that include burglary and aggravated assault.
She also didn’t know he was a probation domestic violence absconder and on probation for vehicle theft.
City Court records this past year reveal a petition to revoke probation, a few failures to appear and warrants ordered.
“I got cheated out of a daughter. If he would have been where he was supposed to be, my daughter would still be here,” Alvarez said.
Magistrate Judge Wendy Million has handled his violations before in Tucson Municipal Court and now Machado appears before her again, this time accused of second-degree murder.
While prosecutors asked that Machado’s bond be set at $1 million, his defense counsel argued that he’d never be able to afford that, and requested a $25,000 bond instead.
The judge ultimately set his bond at $500,000.
Many Sleepless Nights
It’s no surprise to the probation officers, who describe Machado as a heavy drug user with dangerous tendencies, that he would end up back in court and jail.
“Your hands are tied and it’s a huge responsibility on a probation officer’s back. It’s sleepless nights to know that somebody that is violent is running the streets and you are restricted in holding them accountable,” a probation officer explained.
The probation officers said they are restricted by order to keep the jail population down, as described in an Adult Probation Department document.
Staff is directed to expand efforts to re-engage the absconder up to 90 days when risk is not unmanageable.
When asked if that’s working, the probation officer replied, “absolutely not. Once they’re on absconder status, it’s very hard to find them. For lack of a better word, (they) are flying in the wind and the next time you’ll see them, it could be 10 months down the road and they’ve committed horrific events.”
KOLD is continuing its investigation into why many violent felons are not being properly tracked. To suggest an investigation, email us at email@example.com.
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