March 9, 2010 (Poway) – Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (R-San Diego) is working with the parents of slain teen Chelsea King to enact legal reforms aimed at protecting children from violent sexual predators. Fletcher’s district includes Poway and Escondido, homes of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, murdered teens whose bodies were both found in the past week.
“This heartbreaking case leaves a lot of unanswered questions about how our criminal justice system fails to deal with sexually violent predators,” Fletcher said. “The goal is simple—to make sure that no family has to go through what the King family is going through right now…We will work with law enforcement, district attorneys, crime victims groups, legislators and others to evaluate the current system and identify problems, shortcomings, and gaps. This effort will culminate with legislation to reform the criminal justice system in California in order to better protect our children.”
John Gardner, the man charged with King’s murder, is also under investigation in connection with the Dubois case. Previously convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a 13 year old, Gardner was paroled despite objections from a psychologist who warned that he posed a continuing danger to young girls. Gardner’s DNA has also been linked to a woman jogger who was attacked in December in the same Rancho Bernardo park where King was killed.
Revelations that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had destroyed Gardner’s parole records prompted Fletcher to ask Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to take action. “I want to commend the Governor for his swift action n directing the Department of Corrections to end its irresponsible policy to destroy inmate parole records,” Fletcher said, calling the change a “positive step forward.”
Brent and Kelly King, parents of Chelsea, issued the following statement. “Chelsea has given us the opportunity to make the kind of changes that will save precious young lives like hers. We do not yet know when or how those efforts will take shape, but our commitment to carry her light forward is steadfast. We have decided to collaborate with Assemblyman Fletcher on these yet undefined initiatives.”
In a statement released before the discovery of Amber Dubois’ remains, Fletcher voiced sympathy for the King family. “There is not a person in our community who hasn’t been touched by this tragedy,” he concluded.