Alarcon says D.A.'s office failed to tell him that alleged intruder had been released from mental hospital
Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon claimed Friday that the district attorney's office should have notified him that the case against an intruder at his home had been dismissed and that he had been released from a state mental hospital.
The allegations came one day after a mentally ill man broke into Alarcon's Panorama City home for a second time in six months.
Alarcon, who represents the northeast San Fernando Valley, said prosecutors in L.A. County District Atty. Steve Cooley’s office should have told him about what happened to suspect Lawrence Lydell Payton.
Payton was arrested on suspicion of burglary about 6:45 p.m. Thursday at Alarcon's home on Nordhoff Street, the same house he was arrested for breaking into in October. He was being held Friday on $50,000 bail.
“I would like to have an explanation as to why he was released and nobody in the D.A.’s office bothered to tell us,” the councilman said. “I’m a little ticked off right now.”
Alarcon is under investigation by Cooley’s office, which is trying to determine whether the councilman illegally claimed the home as his residence. A politician who registers to vote at a place that is not his residence can be charged with a felony. Neighbors have told The Times that they did not see Alarcon in the home for long stretches of time last year.
Alarcon’s wife, who owns the house on Nordhoff Street, also owns a home in nearby Sun Valley -- a district represented by Councilman Paul Krekorian. Alarcon said he lives in the Nordhoff Street house and urged Cooley to drop the investigation, which he called “bogus.”
A spokeswoman for Cooley did not immediately have a comment.
Payton, 42, was first discovered inside Alarcon’s home in October. He had changed the locks on the doors and damaged many of Alarcon’s belongings. At the time, Alarcon said no one had been in the house for two days.
In Thursday night's break-in, Alarcon said he and his family had been away from the house for an hour and 45 minutes. Alarcon described the intruder as 6-feet-3 and 280 pounds. He voiced alarm that Payton had been just a few feet away from two of his daughters.
In January, Alarcon said that he stopped living in the Nordhoff Street home temporarily out of fear for his family’s safety. He made those comments days after investigators served search warrants on the two homes owned by his wife.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department said Friday that there had been an arrest about 6:45 p.m. Thursday but would not provide more details.
Alarcon said prosecutors in Cooley’s office were in frequent contact with his sisters after an intruder broke into his mother’s home in Sun Valley last September. That type of contact did not occur in the case of his own home, he said.
He said he probably would install an alarm system in the house and possibly get a dog. He said he did not know why the man had entered his home a second time.
“I know he was declared incompetent to stand trial, but that doesn’t mean he’s competent to be in society,” Alarcon said.
-- David Zahniser
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times
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