Inside LADA

February 28, 2024: District Attorney Gascón Announces Exonerations of Two Men Wrongfully Convicted of Murder in Los Angeles


Exoneration News Conference

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced today the exonerations and release of Jofama Coleman and Abel Soto, each of whom spent two decades in prison for a murder they did not commit in May 2003.

“Jofama Coleman and Abel Soto were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a murder they did not commit,” District Attorney Gascón said. “Our hearts also go out to Jose Robles’ family, who have suffered immeasurably through this tragedy and injustice. To everyone impacted, we offer not just words of regret, but a solemn promise of our unwavering pursuit of truth and justice. This ordeal underscores my office’s relentless dedication, through our Conviction Integrity and Habeas units, to righting the wrongs of the past. Together, we forge ahead in our quest for justice, acknowledging the pain endured but steadfast in our resolve.”

Ellen Eggers, an attorney for Mr. Coleman and Mr. Soto, said, “Jofama Coleman and Abel Soto are my heroes, never faltering in their quest for justice. Jofama transformed his cell into a classroom to master the law itself. Their indomitable spirit, coupled with Jessica Jacobs’ essential support, unraveled the truth that set them free. I’m grateful to Head Deputy Juan Mejia, Supervising DA Amy Wilton, and the extraordinary DDA Lara Bazan, whose diligent and insightful efforts paved the way for swift justice. Finally, I am deeply grateful to District Attorney George Gascón for righting this profound wrong. Today is a testament to the power of unwavering resolve and the relentless pursuit of justice.”

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February 15, 2024: District Attorney George Gascón Announces Charges in Murderous Crime Spree That Killed Four in Southeast Los Angeles


District Attorney George Gascón Announces Charges in Murderous Crime Spree That Killed Four in Southeast Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that Gary Garcia Jr. and Timberland McKneely have been charged with murdering four people, three men and a child, and attempting to murder two others, including a child, between February 11 and 12 in the cities of Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, and unincorporated Los Angeles.

“In the face of this devastating crime spree that claimed the lives of four innocent people, including a child, my heart aches for the victims and their grieving families,” District Attorney Gascón said. “Multiple communities have been terrorized by these men’s callous, cruel, and cold-hearted actions. This senseless violence will not go unanswered by the scales of justice. Our Major Crimes Division is working tirelessly to hold these two men accountable and to bring justice to the victims and their families.”

“I applaud the District Attorney for taking swift and decisive action in filing murder charges against these two gang members responsible for the heinous murders of four innocent people including a teenager,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, Fourth District. “Families across Southeast Los Angeles are grieving, and communities are still shaken by the terror created by this senseless rampage. Nothing we can do will make these families whole again, but these men must be held accountable for the pain they caused and the lives they stole.”

“Homicide detectives and multiple Department resources worked around the clock to identify and arrest the suspects who were threatening the safety of our communities and involved in these senseless murders,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Captain Andy Meyer. “We hope that bringing these individuals to justice will provide some comfort to the families who have lost loved ones and it also sends a clear message that if you commit a crime regardless of law-enforcement jurisdiction, you will be caught and held accountable.”

“These senseless acts of violence are unfortunate and send shockwaves throughout our communities,” said Huntington Park Police Chief Cosme Lozano. “We will continue to work in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office to prosecute those responsible, bring justice to the families who have suffered tremendous loss, and to restore peace and confidence in our community. The victims and families affected by this terrible tragedy deserve our relentless support, so that we can ensure that the power of the justice system will ensure these criminals spend the rest of their life in prison”.

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February 1, 2024: District Attorney Gascón Announces Nearly 200 Cases Filed to Combat Organized Retail Theft in Los Angeles County


District Attorney Gascón Announces Nearly 200 Cases Filed to Combat Organized Retail Theft in Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón today announced that nearly 200 organized retail theft cases involving adult and juvenile defendants have been filed by the office.

These cases were filed through the efforts of the regional organized retail task forces which is comprised of regional law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office partnering together to prosecute these crimes.

“Organized retail theft is not a victimless crime, it harms our community’s sense of security while shopping at these retailers, and the ability for local businesses to succeed,” District Attorney Gascón said. “When we saw a rise in organized retail theft crimes, I committed to holding these individuals accountable. Through my partnership with the Organized Retail Theft Task Force, we have been able to track down many of the offenders and bring them to justice.

We want businesses to succeed and for Angelenos to feel safe while they’re out in public. Filing these cases is just the beginning of my office’s work toward deterring these types of crimes in order to make Los Angeles County a safer place.”

“Organized retail theft stole the feeling of safety and security from Angelino’s and business owners alike last year,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. “This regional organized retail theft task force has restored much of this, although, there is work still to be done.  I am proud of the hard work and dedication to public safety of those not only from the Los Angeles Police Department, but our partnering agencies as well. As public servants, we cannot work in silos; we cannot work alone. Public safety belongs to all of us.”

“The Sheriff’s Organized Retail Crimes Task Force in collaboration with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and our partner law enforcement agencies are continuing to work tirelessly to tackle these brazen smash-and-grabs that are having a significant impact on our business communities,” said LASD Major Crimes Bureau Acting Captain Rob Peacock. “Since inception of our task force, we have arrested 438 suspects related to retail theft and 309 cases have been successfully filed. We are not only focused on the individuals responsible for the thefts, but those that are in the criminal chain—the getaway drivers, those that harbor them, and those that sell the stolen merchandise. These individuals need to understand that there will be consequences—we will use all our resources to identify, pursue, and arrest these suspects.” 

“WSS acknowledges and supports the vital efforts of the Organized Retail Theft Task Force and the District Attorney’s Office in combating organized retail theft, which detrimentally affects neighborhood security and local businesses. We remain committed to collaborating with law enforcement to deter and prosecute these crimes,” Blanca Gonzalez, senior vice president and general manager, Warehouse Shoe Sale.

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