SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the aftermath of the brutal killing of 61-year-old Mary “Kate” Tibbitts and her two dogs in her Land Park home, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and District 4 Councilmember Katie Valenzuela are voicing their frustration and anger.
They question how people with a history of serious, violent offenses are able to walk out of county jail doors with little accountability for their whereabouts when they are released.
The suspect, Troy Davis, 51, had 2 felony strikes and was released from jail without having to post bail in June. He had a known issue with methamphetamine, according to city officials.
In a statement, Steinberg and Valenzuela said, “We cannot simply release people from jail onto the streets without working harder to ensure that they are getting the treatment and services they desperately need to prevent them from harming themselves or others.”
The city leaders vow to work with county leaders to bolster re-entry services and prevent another tragic crime like this one.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are speaking out against policies they believe contributed to the tragedy.
“Where did the system fail? I mean, part of it is we have efforts in this state to continuously release more and more people from jail or prison that, in my opinion, endanger our communities,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.
The California District Attorneys Association is placing blame on zero-bail policies and bail reform efforts under Senate Bill 262, which is working its way through the legislature this week.
Proponents of the bill aim to overhaul California’s bail system and reduce pre-trial detention.
Tibbitt’s family spoke out publicly for the first time Wednesday since her death. In a statement to the Sacramento Bee, they said they feel Davis’ release demonstrates a monumental failure of the state’s political and criminal justice system, adding:
“Our only hope is that it won’t take years for the citizens of the state to wake up and realize that we have the ultimate power to insist on changes to laws, and the people who implement them, to effect reforms that are so badly needed to protect ourselves from the evil that exists amongst us.”
Meanwhile, family, friends and community members mourn Tibbitts. The Sacramento SPCA honored the 25-year volunteer in social media posts and asked those who plan to attend a vigil for Tibbitts to remember her as she lived, not as her life was taken.
The vigil is expected to take place Thursday night at 7 p.m. outside of 5 Sips Coffee.