The Los Angeles Daily News reported Wednesday that Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has asked a local judge to reverse the death penalty handed down to a murderer who executed two innocent college students in a 1994 car hijacking.
The controversial prosecutor, who won election in 2020 with the help of millions of dollars from left-wing billionaire financier George Soros, vowed to end the death penalty as soon as he took office. He continues to pursue that goal despite a massive crime wave and a likely recall election in November, the result of the largest-ever petition drive in Los Angeles County among fed-up residents.
“In a 264-page resentencing recommendation filed earlier this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Gascón said Raymond Oscar Butler, who was 18 when he killed Takuma Ito and Go Matsuura, should instead be resentenced to life in prison without parole because at the time he suffered ‘significant, cognitive impairment,’ meaning his brain was not developed enough to regulate his behavior,” wrote the Daily News.
Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, which represents about 800 Los Angeles County prosecutors, said Gascón’s position is at odds with jurisprudence.
This is not the first case in which Gascón has sought a reduced sentence. Shortly after taking office, Gascón sought reduced penalties for a man accused of murdering two people, including Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputy Joseph Solano. Gascón has continued to advocate for reduced sentences since then, often over the objections of his own prosecutors.