Crime victims and their families filed a lawsuit Monday against Utah corrections authorities, claiming they wrongly released and failed to properly monitor violent offenders who subsequently committed homicide and other serious crimes, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The lawsuit alleges the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole granted parole to men who subsequently violated it and killed Linda Nemelka, Shandon Scott, Farrell Bartschi and Sandra Robles, the outlet reported. It claims other convicts committed arson, sexual assault and other offenses after being freed from prison improperly, with the Utah Department of Corrections’ Adult Probation & Parole division failing to correctly monitor released individuals and falsifying “reporting and paperwork to cover up the mistakes and failures.” (RELATED: GOP Bill Would Increase Prison Time For ‘Illegally Intimidating’ Supreme Court Justices)
“The government, the corrections department, its agencies and its divisions allowed violent people to be paroled that should never have been paroled,” prosecuting attorney Robert Sykes argued, according to ABC 4.
The lawsuit says the Board of Pardons and Parole freed Terrence Vos, whom Scott previously dated, despite his firearms convictions and prison assault of another inmate, the Tribune reported. Though Vos assaulted Scott twice afterwards and broke her leg, Utah Adult Probation & Parole did not even contact him about those incidents, and he allegedly shot Scott in May 2021, put her body into a car and crashed it, according to the lawsuit.
Utah authorities placed Noel Munoz Lopez on parole despite his record of attempted homicide and at least three other violent felonies, law enforcement records indicate, according to the Tribune. Lopez allegedly went on to shoot and kill the 82-year-old Bartschi, a man he did not know, in October 2021.
“I have no doubt that he would still be with us if [Utah Adult Probation & Parole] would have done their job,” Bartschi’s daughter Kim Dixon said, the Tribune reported.
“We are not in a position to provide a comment on pending litigation,” the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Utah Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
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