Error may have freed suspect in Burk’s death
A parolee accused of killing 17-year-old Lily Burk last month could have been serving a lengthy prison sentence instead of roaming the streets of Los Angeles but for a clerical error that misstated his criminal record, according to interviews and court documents reviewed by The Times.
Because of the error, authorities did not know that Charles Samuel was eligible to be prosecuted under the state's tough three-strikes law when he was arrested for and convicted of burglary in San Bernardino County in 1997.
"We were very aggressive on all three-strikes cases back then," said Assistant Dist. Atty. Dennis Christy.
Under the three-strikes law, offenders convicted of a third strike face a minimum prison sentence of 25 years to life.