The Latest: Reform may have kept slaying suspect from prison

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2017 4:31 PM
The Latest: Reform may have kept slaying suspect from prison

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of two California police officers as they responded to a traffic accident (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

California's efforts to ease overcrowding in state prisons did not lead to an early release for a gang member accused of killing a police officer and wounding another. But one reform measure may have kept him from going back to prison.

Prison officials say suspect Michael Christopher Mejia was released in April after serving his full term for robbery and auto theft convictions.

Under the reform measure, Mejia was supervised by county probation officers instead of state parole agents.

Authorities say Mejia violated probation five times since April but was jailed for only 10 days each time — the maximum under probation rules without a judge's order or a court hearing.

If Mejia had been on parole, he could've spent up to a year behind bars for each violation.

Mejia is suspected of killing Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer Monday. A second officer, Patrick Hazell, was wounded.

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12 a.m.

Officials say a California criminal justice reform initiative played no role in the length of the prison sentence of a gang member who is accused of shooting two police officers, one of whom died.

Michael Christopher Mejia was identified Tuesday as the suspect responsible for the slaying of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. A second officer, Patrick Hazell, was wounded.

Authorities say Mejia had served time in prison for robbery and auto theft charges and was released on probation in April under a reform measure known as Assembly Bill 109, which allows some offenders to be released under the supervision of county probation officers instead of on state parole.

On Monday, Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper criticized the initiative and other measures, saying they were "laws that are raising crimes."