There is a new wave of backlash over Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s Special Directives regarding Parole hearings. Jessica Corde, the mother of victim Marquis Leblanc is appalled that Martin Haro, her son’s killer, was granted parole after serving only 13 years for the 2009 murder.
Haro was only 16 when he committed the crime. Under Gascón’s new Special Directives, Haro became eligible for parole. Coupled with Gascón’s removal of the presence of a District Attorney at parole hearings, it was the perfect recipe for Haro receiving a favorable release.
“My son doesn’t get parole,” Jessica Corde said. “He is locked in that casket forever.”
Corde said without a prosecutor present at the hearing, it was up to her alone to argue against Haro’s release. In preparation, she reviewed case files, exposing her to pictures and details of the crime she had been sheltered from during the trial.
As a result, she saw her son’s naked, massacred body for the first time. She said the process traumatized her all over again.
“It was just desperation because, as a mom, I felt I have to fight. I can’t just let them go without a fight,” Corde said.
Corde is appealing Haro’s parole to Governor Gavin Newsom. Good luck with that. Aside from being focused on beating a Recall, Governor Newsom is also pre-occupied with releasing as many prisoners as he can; so this mother’s position might not garner much attention, let alone sympathy. Corde is also hopeful that Gascón’s Special Directives, which have been repudiated by victim’s families, law enforcement, and his own District Attorneys, will be overturned.
The case of serial rapist Ruben Beltran produced even more backlash than this case. Beltran was convicted of raping two siblings, 8 and 9 years old, and had served 16 years of a 15-to-life prison sentence. Beltran is eligible for parole this month. In December, the mother of his two victims first learned that prosecutors are now barred from attending parole hearings. The mother called Gascón, wrote letters to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, and tried to hire a lawyer. Kathryn Barger of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors wrote Gascón a letter, interceding on the mother’s behalf.
As of this writing, Gascón has not responded to the mother or to Supervisor Barger.
In this case, the parole board decided to postpone the proceedings for Beltran until 2022; but how many more victims and their parents will be robbed of justice, and suffer the indignity of having to re-live their suffering because of George Gascón and his Special Directives?
The mother of the Beltran victims said as much:
“And it’s not just going to affect me or my kids, it’s going to affect everybody in our position. human cost of what Gascón is doing is unbelievable.”