Grand Junction murder suspect’s parole questioned
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Why was Lonnie Herrera still walking the street?
Arrested 16 times, including three trips to state prison over 20 years, the man who allegedly gunned down 23-year-old Anna Macias on Sunday was serving two years on parole when he was arrested March 17 for punching Macias repeatedly in a domestic violence incident.
Nobody on Tuesday had answers as to why he was free to allegedly pull the trigger on Sunday night.
“It is protocol within the division that when an offender is arrested for domestic violence, a parole hold is placed on that individual,” said Alison Morgan, associate director of prison operations with the Colorado Department of Corrections.
“We’re looking into this matter with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office,” Morgan said.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said the department was “trying to figure out” what happened in Herrera’s case.
Parole holds are temporary ” people are held in county jails without bond. If violations of parole are found, offenders can be returned to prison to finish sentences.
Morgan said she couldn’t talk about Herrera’s case because of problems on Tuesday with a statewide criminal database.
What’s known is this: Herrera on Feb. 19 allegedly punched Macias repeatedly in the face and head as she was holding an infant child, according an arrest affidavit.
Herrera was arrested in Delta County on March 17 ” the warrant alleged misdemeanor charges of assault, harassment, false imprisonment, child abuse and a sentence-enhancing domestic violence charge.
Benjamin said Herrera was transferred from Delta County to the Mesa County Jail on March 19. Court records show he walked out of jail after posting $2,000 bond on March 21.
On Sunday night, Herrera allegedly shot Macias dead in front of her two children.
A judge on Tuesday kept Herrera’s bond at $2 million during his first Mesa County court appearance.
Herrera will be formally charged by the district attorney’s office on April 8.
Morgan said an offender’s parole officer has discretion as to whether a hold is placed on a parole client following their re-arrest, Morgan said.
“There are various factors, including the information received about the incident from law enforcement, the offender’s overall behavior while on parole and their criminal history,” Morgan said.
Morgan said law enforcement officials should know if someone is on parole by simply typing a name into the state crime database.
“An alert should pop up on the screen,” Morgan said.
It was unclear on Tuesday if officers who handled the preparation of Herrera’s arrest warrant in the domestic violence case, or his eventual detention between March 17 and March 21, actually saw such an alert.
Herrera was paroled from state prison Oct. 22, 2007, after serving just over two years of a three-year sentence for felony menacing in Delta County.
That was after a prison term from Dec. 12, 1995, to Feb. 19, 2002, for assault out of Delta County.
Herrera was also incarcerated from Nov. 7, 1989, to May 8, 1993, after a conviction for assault in Eagle County.
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