A Los Angeles County man, sentenced to spend decades in prison for murder and robbery in 2016, was released back in November. On Tuesday evening, he was rearrested on 11 counts, including several felonies, and some are blaming the “soft-on-crime” policies of LA District Attorney George Gascón for putting a violent offender back out on the streets.
Andrew Cachu was 17 years old in 2015 when he shot and killed 41-year-old Louis Amela outside of a burger joint. Cachu and other gang members had targeted Amela and attempted to steal his bike. When Amela resisted, Cachu’s associates held Amela down and Cachu shot him in the back.
Though still a juvenile, Cachu was tried as an adult. After he was convicted, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison and was sent to begin his sentence at a juvenile facility.
However, California law changed shortly thereafter, prohibiting juveniles from being tried as adults and permitting those convicted under the old statute to appeal their case. Cachu took advantage of this opportunity last year and in a hearing to determine whether he should be transferred to an adult facility when he turned 25, Deputy District Attorney Alisa Blair — a close associate of Gascón — presented no evidence that he should. Cachu was released last November, having served just six years of his 50-year sentence.
On Tuesday evening, Cachu was rearrested for several felonies related to a motor vehicle incident. Police said that Cachu had fallen asleep at the wheel and was blocking several lanes of traffic. When they roused Cachu from his slumber, he immediately fled the scene and even drove the wrong way on the freeway in attempt to escape police. He then crashed his vehicle, at which point, police were able to apprehend him. Thankfully, no one was injured in the chase or the crash.
“He was obviously under the influence,” Lt. L. Arnold said, adding that police found “many drugs” in the vehicle, according to Fox News. They charged him with evading arrest, possession of a firearm — which had been spotted in his waistband while he was still asleep — and several charges related to the possession of controlled substances.
Despite the allegations against Cachu, Gascón defended the decision not to present evidence that might have kept him in custody for the murder of Amela.
“As California law requires, our office reviewed Mr. Cachu’s original case, where he had been sentenced as an adult despite committing the crime as a minor,” Gascón said in a statement. “Based upon the facts of the case and the individual characteristics of Mr. Cachu we determined that we would not likely prevail in a transfer hearing because we could not prove that he would not have benefited from juvenile resources at the time of the original offense – again, as the law requires.”
However, other attorneys have disputed many of these assertions.
“He is badly mistaken, or being misled, or ignorant, I don’t know which of those it is,” said Kathy Cady, a California attorney representing Amela’s family. “But he’s just plain wrong. What he claims is ridiculous. And when you have people who have done very, very dangerous things that have negatively impacted the community, they should not be released after short prison sentences.”
“He never should have been out on the streets,” she added. “The only reason he was out on the streets is because of Gascón’s policies and his handpicked surrogate, Alisa Blair, refused to put up any evidence…at the hearing.”