Rantz: Violent, homeless man loose after county pushed treatment over jail
A violent, homeless man with a long criminal record is on the loose, this time, after allegedly stealing a safe from an apartment complex in South Lake Union, nearly $2,500 worth of goods from a local clothing shop, and a woman’s bike and bank card. He’s already being investigated for stabbing a man.
In King County Adult Drug Diversion Court, Prosecutor Dan Satterberg initially asked for $20,000 bail in July for the suspect, Jordan Anthony Acosta. His reasoning was that Acosta “…is likely to commit a violent offense, and is likely to fail-to-appear to future court appearances.”
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says the parties, including the judge, agreed to release Acosta so that he could participate in outpatient treatment that would be monitored by the court, however. Acosta didn’t appear at a recent court hearing and the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Acosta, 27, has a long criminal history that includes felony theft and assault in the 2nd degree. In all, he has had six warrants for his arrest since 2014. The most recent incidents happened within days of each other.
On July 22, 2018, surveillance allegedly shows Acosta allegedly breaking into a Seattle apartment complex where he pried his way through at least four locked locations, stealing a laptop, key fobs that allow entry into the apartment complex, and a safe holding rent checks (mine included). When officers were dispatched to the location, they immediately recognized Acosta on the surveillance video, according to a police document.
Just three days later, on July 25, Acosta and a second unidentified man, allegedly broke into a Seattle clothing store, stole several backpacks and clothes retailing nearly $2,500. Again, when officers viewed surveillance footage, they immediately identified one of the suspects as Acosta, according to the police document.
Then, on August 2, Acosta fled from cops after they caught him riding without a helmet. The bike — and the bank card, ORCA card, and movie pass he had in his possession — did not belong to him, according to court documents. Indeed, the cards are from a suspected car prowl and the bike stolen from an apartment garage.
Acosta lists a homeless shelter as his residence. There’s been a rash of crime committed by homeless people, sometimes to fuel their drug addiction.
Acosta is also being investigated for stabbing a man in May 2018. In that incident, Acosta allegedly stole a man’s music equipment from an apartment building. When the man attempted to retrieve the stolen goods with a friend, Acosta allegedly stabbed the friend before being arrested. The court document says “The State has concerns about community safety given that this defendant has demonstrated a willingness to stab victims attempting to retain their property.”
The decision to try Acosta in Drug Diversion Court seems, in retrospect, a bad idea.
The court accepts referrals for cases by the prosecutor. Eligibility requirements include a “reasonable basis to believe the defendant can successfully complete” the program. But given Acosta was originally described as likely to commit a violent act and not show up to future, it’s unclear why he’d be offered inpatient treatment.
The prosecutor’s office released this short statement when I asked why Acosta was given this out:
Mr. Acosta has not been convicted of a violent crime. If he was, he would not be eligible. The case you are referring to about the stabbing is still under investigation.
Indeed, he’s being investigated for the stabbing. Yet, the documents asking for bail clearly indicate he’s a violent threat to the community.
Cops have expressed frustration with Satterberg as he’s shown an unwillingness to prosecute certain types of crimes. Cops have told me on many occasions that they keep seeing the same criminals, committing the same crimes, back out on the streets because Satterberg isn’t prosecuting them.
Satterberg recently announced he wouldn’t be prosecuting certain drug crimes if the suspect is found with under a gram of any drug. He’d be referring them to the LEAD program. It’s unclear which outpatient treatment Acosta was pushed towards, but he was not referred to LEAD, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“Satterberg is trying to get re-elected, and trying to become more liberal like the Socialist Daron Morris* [his opponent],” one Seattle police officer told me. “LEAD is okay for some things, just like drug court. Maybe for a first-time offender, or somebody struggling who really wants help. But this decision by Satterberg to basically decriminalize heroin, meth, and crack is ludicrous. [I’m] definitely moving out of Washington when I retire…”
Acosta, well known to cops as a frequent criminal suspect, seems like another manifestation of Satterberg’s well-intentioned desire to push treatment over jail-time.
*Daron Morris has suspended his campaign for King County Prosecutor due to medical reasons.
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