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Families of crime victims push to recall LA DA Gascon, calling his policies a 'slap in the face'

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Families of crime victims in Los Angeles County spoke out against liberal L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón, who is facing a recall effort similar to the one faced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The families said in interviews that aired on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that they want the newly elected district attorney ousted, telling “Fox News Primetime” guest host Lawrence Jones that they believe Gascón’s criminal justice reforms prioritize criminals over their victims. 

Jones traveled to Los Angeles to speak with district attorney officials in the state and the families who have been impacted by Gascón’s policies.

One of those families, that of murdered Los Angeles County Sgt. Steven Owen, has called for his killer to face the death penalty, but Gascón has banned it. 

FILE - This Aug. 19, 2014 file photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shows Sgt. Steven Owen. Owen was shot and killed Oct. 5, 2016, by a parolee while answering a burglary report in Lancaster, Calif. 

FILE – This Aug. 19, 2014 file photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows Sgt. Steven Owen. Owen was shot and killed Oct. 5, 2016, by a parolee while answering a burglary report in Lancaster, Calif. 
((Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via AP, File)

“I have always believed in the justice system, but with my husband not only murdered … executed, this new district attorney has turned this justice system that does work completely upside down,” Owen’s wife Tania, who served alongside her husband, told Jones.

 “It just takes you right back to the scene,” Millie Owen, Sgt. Owen’s mother, said. “We were robbed, robbed of her husband, robbed of a dad, robbed of my son and then for this attorney to do this, it’s just like robbery all over again.”

A gunman first shot and wounded Owen before standing over him and pumping four bullets into his body in 2016, according to authorities.

The 53-year-old was shot while responding to a report of a burglary in progress at an apartment building in Lancaster.

Tania Owen shared her message for other families of crime victims in Los Angeles County.

“I’d tell them to be strong, this is not over,” she told Jones. “We still have a voice, we can do something about this. Recall this man.”

LA DA GASCON DROPS DEATH PENALTY FOR MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING POLICE OFFICER 

Recall organizers held a “victims’ vigil” over the weekend to gather the 20 signatures needed from L.A. County residents to formally launch the recall process. 

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks after he was sworn in during a mostly-virtual ceremony in downtown Los Angeles Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. 

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks after he was sworn in during a mostly-virtual ceremony in downtown Los Angeles Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. 
(Bryan Chan/County of Los Angeles via AP)

The effort needs to garner just under 600,000 signatures from registered Los Angeles voters, or 10 percent of the voter roll, to force Gascón to run again. 

The day he took office in December, Gascón announced a slew of sweeping changes including stopping the use of sentencing enhancements, restricting when prosecutors can hold defendants without bail, ending the use of the death penalty in L.A. County and banning the practice of trying juveniles as adults. 

A mother in L.A. County said she feels “sick” after learning that special circumstance charges against three of the men accused of murdering her 20-year-old son and throwing him off a cliff in 2018 were dismissed in December under Gascón’s sweeping reforms.

Desiree Andrade told Fox 11 Los Angeles that the death of her son, Julian Andrade, left her devastated. Speaking with Jones, an emotional Andrade said, “I never thought that I would ever have to lose a child, to say goodbye to a child.”

“The day I found out what he was doing, I felt it was a slap in the face,” she added.

Investigators have said Julian Andrade was repeatedly beaten and stabbed until he lost consciousness. The suspects, believing he was dead, drove him to the mountains in Azusa to dispose of the body. Realizing he was still alive, the suspects allegedly stomped on his head.

They threw his body off a cliff, according to investigators, but still heard him struggling. One suspect allegedly climbed down to attack the 20-year-old again.

The three suspects were charged with special circumstances of deadly weapon, kidnapping and robbery – charges that would have put them away for life without parole, if convicted. With those charges dismissed in court in December, they could be eligible for parole in 20 to 30 years.

Julian Andrade was the father of a 9-month-old child and had a second on the way when he was killed, according to KTLA-TV.

As Andrade held back tears she told Jones that she would “love” for Gascón to tell her his “rationale into all this.”

“I wake up every day, one child less, every day,” she said. “And every day that I have to look into my grandkids eyes that hurts.”

Jones also spoke with other California district attorneys and even one of Gascón’s deputies in his own office who are against his policies.

L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami told Jones that criminals “actually love the D.A.”

Jones asked Hatami, “Is it typical that a deputy D.A. takes on his D.A.?”

“No, it’s not typical,” he responded.

Jones went on to ask, “Can you look at the eyes of the victims in L.A. County and tell them they’re safe?”

“I can’t now,” he responded.

“Within really minutes of him being sworn in, he adopted a number of … policies that really are the wholesale abandonment of crime victim’s rights,” Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert told Jones. “You can no longer seek capital punishment, you can no longer seek life without the possibility of parole.”

“These directives are dangerous, not only to L.A., but for this state and this nation,” Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday, Jones noted that “people all over L.A.” have been impacted by Gascón’s policies.

“We cannot allow this to go down this way because this is becoming a model for the country,” the Fox Nation host said. “If we don’t stand up for the people in L.A., it can be coming to a city near you. In some cases it already has.”

Gascón declined Fox News’ request for an interview. He said in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday that the “pain and trauma of losing a loved one is immeasurable.”

“While a minority of victims want the maximum punishment imposed in their case, research shows these views are not shared by a majority of survivors of violent crime, as most survivors don’t find healing by putting another person in a cage,” he continued.

“Additionally, studies show that excessive sentencing practices have exacerbated recidivism leading to more victims of crime.”

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Gascón went on to write, “Our system of justice can’t continue to rely on policies that create more victims tomorrow simply because a minority of victims want the maximum punishment imposed in their case today.”

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips. Stephen Sorace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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