Shooting sheds light on missing parolees

March 23, 2009 6:51:52 PM PDT
Lovelle Mixon had a lengthy history with local law enforcement.

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He was a person of interest in an Oakland homicide last year, but was never charged, because of a lack of evidence.

Mixon did serve five years in prison for assault with a firearm, in a 2002 San Francisco carjacking and investigators say he committed multiple parole violations within a few months of his release. He was re-arrested in February, 2008, and served nine months before being released again in November.

Thanks to his violent past and repeated parole violations, Mixon was what the California Department of Corrections calls a "high control" parolee.

"We were required to visit him more at his residence; he's required to come in more and we also give him more services as well," California Department of Corrections spokesperson Brian Clay said.

Still, his parole agent lost track of Mixon February 19, 2009, after Mixon failed to show up for a mandatory meeting. At that point, a warrant was issued for his arrest, making him a "parolee at large."

According the state, of the 2,200 parolees currently in Oakland, about 10 percent are parolees at large. Law enforcement does occasionally perform sweeps to arrest parolees at large, but one conducted in Hayward and Oakland last Friday picked up just a few of the 200 parolees targeted.

"They've got to be kept under control," Attorney General Jerry Brown said. Brown advocates wider use of GPS devices for high risk parolees like Mixon. Right now, they are mostly used for sex offenders. "If he'd had a bracelet he would not have been allowed to be on the run for so many weeks," Brown said.

Mixon's family told ABC7 it was the parole system that failed him.

"I'm not putting it all on the parole officer, I'm just saying it's broken, the system is broken, it has to be fixed, this can't happen again," Mixon's grandmother Mary Mixon said.

Just 21 percent of Oakland parolees successfully complete their parole, half the national average.

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