Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco protested a proposal plan on Tuesday that could place a convicted child killer in Riverside County.
Donald Schmidt, 38, was convicted in 1987 at the age of 16 for the murder of a 3 year old girl in Santa Cruz County in the town on Lompico.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said after the brutal sexual abuse, Schmidt drowned the little girl in a bathtub in her own home. Schmidt was convicted of the murder and, because of his age, was sentenced to a juvenile detention facility.
Now, the New York Times reports Schmidt now ranks as the oldest person in California’s juvenile justice system, serving time with teenagers who were not alive when he committed his crime. But Schmidt is scheduled to be paroled and placed back into the community.
“The state is taking a tremendous risk by placing this very dangerous man into our community and by doing so it puts thousands of our children at risk,” Pacheco said.
A hearing by the state juvenile parole board is expected possibly as early as this week, at which time Schmidt could be sent to Riverside County.
Under normal circumstances, an inmate is only allowed in the juvenile justice system until he is 25-years-old. Schmidt’s tenure in the juvenile justice system was made possible by some rarely used state codes that allowed him to stay in there due to “mental disorder, defect or abnormality that causes the person to have serious difficulty controlling his or her dangerous behavior,” according to the Times.
Other counties in California have successfully opposed his release and now there is a strong possibility that Schmidt, 38, could be placed into a halfway house for registered sex offenders on Floral Avenue in Good Hope, an unincorporated area along Highway 74, between Lake Elsinore and Perris.
Pacheco is asking the county Board of Supervisors to prepare an emergency ordinance regulating all group homes, as well as to draft and send a resolution opposing Schmidt’s placement to Riverside County.
“The danger of having a child killer like this in our backyard cannot be ignored,” said Board Chairman and Fifth District Supervisor Marion Ashley. “I am committed to preventing his placement here.”
“We need to deal with this child murderer in a way that doesn’t endanger the citizens of Riverside County,” said Supervisor Jeff Stone. “I would be outraged if he was placed near my family and I would expect every other Riverside County family to feel the same way.”