How a Wasilla man, out on bail, was able to attack his victim again
An Assistant District Attorney in Palmer says Alaska laws need changing after a Wasilla man released on bail in 2016 ended up attacking his victim, again.
The victim was never told King had escaped house arrest.
On a Friday night in March of 2016, then 23-year-old Jordan King, ran away from his mother's home, and eight hours later, he kidnapped his prior victim, again. King has since been convicted on multiple charges, including kidnapping and attempted murder.
"Nobody let the victim know that between 8:00 p.m. and 4:25 in the morning, the person who had originally attacked her, had left his third-party custodian," said Brittany Dunlop.
Alaska State Troopers say they should have notified the victim while looking for King, even though there's no state law that requires them to.
"It goes without saying that this victim should have been notified, policy or not. It's one of those that is a failing, I would consider it, on our part, that we didn't," said Lt. Chris Thompson.
That phone call to the victim slipped through the cracks. Had this happened on a weekday, the District Attorney's office says it may have been able to notify her.
But on a weekend, after hours, what kind of protection do victims have?
"On a weekend like that, I don't know," said Dunlop. "I always encourage victims to be vigilant, to be aware of their surroundings. This was a case where the victim had, herself, purchased a handgun and was regularly carrying it in her purse. And had left it in the house because she went out to start her truck and was abducted."
People like King, who is out on bail, aren't actively monitored by law enforcement or the courts. But that's about to change in January.
Starting next year, 45 pretrial officers will monitor people who are out on bail. The idea is that they know each case intimately and can provide a point of contact if someone violates their conditions for bail.
"One of the things that a judge can order is for a pretrial officer to supervise a defendant while they're on release, and then our officers also have the ability to make immediate remands when they discover violations," said Geri Miller-Fox, director of the Pretrial Enforcement Division.
Even so, Miller-Fox, Thompson and Dunlop agree, there's no guarantee.
"Anytime you let someone out on bail, there's a risk," said Dunlop.
But what happened with King has highlighted a need for changes in the criminal justice system. So that victims, aren't re-victimized, again.
"Some statutory mandate to notify victims of bail violations is probably appropriate," said Dunlop.
According to DOC, more than a third of people released on bail end up back in jail on a criminal offense. The department says those are normally low-level offenses, like property crimes, not violent crimes like this one.
The new pretrial program also includes a new risk-assessment tool to help decide who should be released on bail. But Dunlop says she's not sure even that system would have detected that king, who had no prior convictions, would be dangerous.
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