Antelope Valley Press Reports ‘Cold Case’ Killer gets six years – This blatant violation of Marsy’s Law by Alan Jackson is similar to that of the former Governor Schwarzenegger who reduced a murder sentence to 7 years without consulting the family. Shortly after Alan Jackson’s secret deal with a murderer, the Alan Jackson campaign released a video where he champions himself as a victim’s advocate. We report this illegal and complete disregard for Marsy’s Law. Justice was never sought nor served when Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson secretly plea bargained the potential death penalty murder case to manslaughter. Also of note – the Alan Jackson campaign has already launched an attack on the city Attorney Carmen Trutanich who hasn’t yet officially declared his run for DA. Carmen Trutanich has a special page on the City Attorney’s website that is dedicated to Marsy’s Law.
FROM AV PRESS ‘Cold Case Killer’ gets only six years
By Charles F. Bostwick
Relatives of a Lancaster aerospace worker whose 30-year-old murder was apparently solved last year with the arrest of anIndianatruck driver are dismayed that the ex-convict apprehended was allowed to plead guilty to reduced charges and sentenced to fewer than 6 years in state prison.
Joseph Azevedo’s sister and nephew said the family was not told about a June 7 hearing in Los Angeles at which Christopher Winter, 55, was sentenced after being allowed to plead no-contest to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of receiving stolen property. A murder charge carrying a potential death sentence or life in prison was dismissed.
“Where is the justice? I can’t believe it – after all these years,” Esmeralda Tirak of Palmdale said Friday. “The guilty get away with murder, and the victims…,” she said, breaking into tears. “I can’t talk anymore.”
Michael Tirak, Azevedo’s nephew, said: “There’s something wrong with our justice system.” Esmeralda Tirak said the family was not invited to speak before the sentencing to give a so-called “victim impact statement,” which is standard practice in California court rooms.
They had been told that a hearing had been postponed and would be rescheduled, but were never told a new date, she said. Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, a Major Crimes Division prosecutor who is running for District Attorney in 2012, didn’t return calls seeking comment.
A District Attorney’s spokeswoman said she was told that Joseph Azevedo’s relatives had been informed by an investigator that Winter was expected to enter a plea to reduced charges that would let him avoid the death penalty, though she didn’t know if they had been told the hearing date. She said the evidence against Winter turned out to be weaker than expected.
Winter remains in custody in Men’s Central Jail inLos Angelespending his transfer to a state prison. Joseph Azevedo was a 50-year-old Lockheed Aircraft worker and father of four sons. He had separated from his wife, who moved toPennsylvaniawith one of the boys, but the other three – ages 10 to 20 – were living with him. Two of the boys found their father dead in their home’s family room after returning from camping at Littlerock Reservoir.
Family said they had never heard of Winter and he wasn’t anyone Azevedo knew. Sheriff’s homicide detectives said they believe Winter was burglarizing the Azevedos’ mobile home, in the 42000 block ofSixth Street East, when Winter was surprised to see Joseph Azevedo inside and killed him.
At the time, Winter was a 25-year-old ex-convict who had been released from prison on parole six months earlier. Winter had been sent to prison in April 1980 on aLos AngelesCountyconviction for armed robbery and possession of a weapon by an ex-felon, state prison records show. He was sentenced to three years in prison on the first charge and two years on the second, but he was paroled in less than seven months. Winter was sent back to prison in August 1984 on a two-year sentence for aLos AngelesCountyconviction for burglary, prison records show. He was released from prison on parole in June 1985 and was discharged from parole in June 1992.
When Winter’s arrest was announced last November, sheriff’s officials said it was the result of fingerprint and DNA evidence that wasn’t available three decades ago. Homicide detectives gathered forensic evidence in 1981 and interviewed residents and family members, but no leads were ever produced to identify a suspect, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement released after Winter’s arrest.
Sheriff’s Cold Case Homicide detectives reopened the case in 2006 and began following several leads that included new fingerprint and DNA analysis. They eventually identified a suspect. However, they did not have enough information to prosecute the case, and the trail ran cold. The case was reopened in May 2010, and a review of statements made by the suspect and witnesses in addition to modern forensic analysis was able to produce sufficient evidence to charge Winter, sheriff’s officials said.
Detectives learned that Winter had been working as a long-haul truck driver inOhio. Winter was spotted at a distribution center inTipp City,Ohio. FBI agents and Tipp City police arrested him without incident Nov. 6. Nearly 30 years after a Lockheed Aircraft worker as found shot to death on his family room floor, sheriff’s officials announced that a suspect had been arrested.