In Wake of Laken Riley’s Death, Deborah Gonzalez Shouldn’t be Allowed to Prosecute the Case

Before we let another moment go by we must recognize there is a family that many of us will never meet in extraordinary pain over the loss of Laken Riley. I cannot imagine what they are going through. In ordinary circumstances the horrors of losing a child must be unfathomable, but add to those circumstances the political climate we live in and the reaction from Georgia’s elected leaders and the extra noise must be deafening.

I mean, Laken’s murder caused the Governor of the State of Georgia to write a letter to the President of the United States.

I spent the weekend hurting for them. May God’s grace and mercy be evident to them as they walk through the darkness. Amen.

A 26-year-old illegal immigrant from Venezuela, Jose Ibarra, killed Laken Riley last Thursday in broad daylight in Athens-Clarke County. Laken was a 22-year-old nursing student at UGA and did not know her accused killer. Local police have called it, “a crime of opportunity.”

But how does someone who was arrested for entering the country illegally have the opportunity to kill a college student he had never met in the first place? Especially after they have been arrested multiple times after their initial release?

Of the many responses and social media posts I have seen, this one from the State Representative in Athens, Houston Gaines, stands out. In it he lays out the facts of the case and how the system broke down to fail Laken Riley.

There has been a lot made about Republicans in the Legislature creating a commission to remove District Attorneys who are unable or unwilling to enforce the law. And while Fani Willis thinks the Georgia Legislature has created the Prosecutorial Oversight Commission to deal with her, the poster child for why the commission exists is actually Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney, Deborah Gonzalez.

We have written a lot about Gonzalez’s incompetence here on the blog and also discussed her many times on the podcast. She is a bumbling fool who has decided that it is her job to ignore or rewrite the law instead of enforce it, all the while showing a stunning lack of skillset for the weighty responsibility she has been entrusted with. As a result, murderers in Athens have already gotten away with it.

In Riley’s case, you have an illegal immigrant picked up and released in Athens for shoplifting while he was on parole for entering the country illegally in El Paso in 2022. Why wasn’t he arrested and held for violating his parole?

When I look at the list of contributing factors that Rep Gaines has outlined in his post, one can clearly see that that at any step before the shoplifting arrest Ibarra could have been stopped from having the opportunity to murder Laken Riley. It truly is a case where failure has many fathers and the entire system failed Riley. But I involuntarily wonder; has Gonzalez’s day-one-in-office policy of choosing to not prosecute illegal immigrants in certain situations helped to contribute to Ibarra feeling like Athens was a safe spot for him to set up shop? I believe it is perfectly reasonable to assume so.

Ibarra’s murder case is certain to be the most high profile one Gonzalez has had to go to trial on to date. She has a terrible track record riddled with failures in similar cases. And because she has helped create the environment that led to Laken Riley’s death, she should not be allowed to prosecute it. What Athens-Clarke and the State of Georgia right now is a competent prosecutor, and she ain’t it.

And the General Assembly must do everything they can to finish the drill on the prosecutorial oversight bill so they can make sure the State of Georgia has appropriate representation in this case, as well as others.

One Reply to “In Wake of Laken Riley’s Death, Deborah Gonzalez Shouldn’t be Allowed to Prosecute the Case”

  1. Of course illegal aliens should be stopped but that takes time and will not allay the fear that grips UGA today. I note that student groups are making suggestsions and that is good. As grandmother of an UGA freshman here are a couple more. UGA needs to offer FREE classes in something like Karate or a better version. They can bill Joe Biden. A cheaper possibility is giving out whistles with the technical ability to reach police stations or the nearest police vehicle. High fidelity – might bring on a few unhappy dogs. These are more immediate actions which could help ease the tension that still and will continue for some time to pervade the UGA campus. Let’s try to remember the fear something like that caused us when we were that age.

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