‘He’s Like The Devil’: Murdered Cop’s Family Criticizes New Los Angeles DA Over Sentencing

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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The family of a murdered police officer from Los Angeles is expressing their ire for the new LA District Attorney George Gascon, Fox News reports.

The family’s anger is due to Gascon’s desire to drop special circumstance allegations against 31-year-old Rhett Nelson, according to Fox News. Nelson, a Utah native, stands accused of shooting Los Angeles County deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano in the back of the head outside an Alhambra Jack in the Box while Deputy Solano was off duty in June of 2019, Fox News reports.

Deputy Solano died in the hospital two days after the shooting at the age of 50.

After Gascon announced he wanted to drop special circumstance allegations against Nelson, members of Deputy Solano’s family began to speak out. “Completely in shock, I can’t even tell you, my heart just dropped, I couldn’t believe it,” Christina Solano, Deputy Solano’s sister, told Fox 11 Los Angeles Tuesday. “He should be there for the families, we are the victims here, not this person who shot him. I don’t understand what his purpose is to let these murderers out of jail, I don’t get it, he’s like the Devil, I don’t understand it,” Christina added. (RELATED: California Prosecutors To Consider Looters’ ‘Needs’ Mandated By District Attorney)

Prosecutors also claim that Nelson shot and killed Dmitry Koltsov, a professional skateboarder from Russia, the same day he shot Deputy Solano, according to Fox News.

Upon Nelson’s arrest, he was charged with the murders of both men, second-degree robbery, and one other count of attempted murder, Fox News reports. Nelson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Nelson’s case also has a series of special circumstance allegations, which impose a harsher sentence for crimes committed in a certain manner, according to Fox News. These special circumstance allegations include using a handgun in the commission of crimes, firing a weapon from a vehicle, and committing multiple murders, Fox News reports.

With the special circumstance sentencing, Nelson could face a maximum life sentence without parole, according to Fox 11. If the special circumstances are dropped, Nelson’s sentence could be at least 40 years and could get out on parole someday.

A member of Gascon’s transition team told Fox 11 in a statement as to why the LA District Attorney wants to prosecute without the special circumstances. “If convicted, there is a possibility that decades from now, the parole board could determine he’s been rehabilitated,” the statement said, according to Fox 11. “Such a determination, many years from now, would ultimately be a reflection of a system and the public alike weighing their continued interest in incarcerating a man who no longer poses a threat to society at an extraordinary taxpayer cost. Eliminating that remote possibility today may not be in the public’s interest decades from now,” the representative added. (RELATED: Los Angeles DA Vows To End Cash Bail, Stop Death Penalty As Citywide Shootings, Murders On The Rise)

Last week, Gascon was sworn in as DA. He previously served as a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, but has vowed to reform the criminal justice system and policing, according to Fox News. Gascon wants to get rid of the death penalty and cash bail, as well as end the use of special circumstance allegations, Fox News reports.