Northridge shooting victim’s family angry suspect wasn't in prison
The relatives of one of four people shot and killed outside a Northridge boarding house earlier this month criticized a judge for allowing the suspect in the case to receive drug treatment instead of prison time.
Ka Pasasouk, 31, who has been arrested on suspicion of murder but not charged, was scheduled to attend two hearings Wednesday on pending cases unrelated to the Northridge slayings. Both were postponed.
For the mother and aunt of victim Amanda Ghossein, 24, it was a chance to see the face of the man they believe to be her killer.
Ghossein, a Monterey Park resident, was among the victims of the fatal shooting on Dec. 2 over what authorities believe was a property dispute. Jennifer Kim, 26, of Montebello; Robert Calabia, 34, of Los Angeles, and Teofilo Navales, 49, of Castaic were also killed. In addition to Pasasouk, three other people were initially arrested on lesser counts in connection with the shootings, but one has been released.
"He needs to be punished," said Ghossein's mother, Glyna, who declined to give her last name because she feared retribution from Pasasouk's associates. "They all need to be punished."
At both hearings, Pasasouk declined to face the court at the request of his attorney. Instead, he stood a few feet from the doorway to the courtroom, just beyond eyeshot of the audience, a small sliver of his stocky, blue-clad frame visible.
"It's better," Glyna said. "I don't think I could see him, because I'd see him in my mind every day after that."
Glyna and Ghossein's aunt, Illina, also directed their anger at Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jessica Silver, who presided over a September hearing at which Pasasouk was mistakenly allowed to attend drug rehabilitation rather than serve jail time. During that hearing, Pasasouk, who was on probation at the time, pleaded no contest to possession of methamphetamine.
"With a record like that, he should have never been let out," Illina said.
The district attorney's office has said it erred in telling Silver that Pasasouk was eligible for a Proposition 36 drug review program, which allowed him to receive treatment rather than prison time.
The Los Angeles County Probation Department had urged that he be sent back to state prison for "long-term detention" because of his lengthy criminal record. But Silver followed the recommendation of the D.A.'s office and ordered him to drug treatment.
One of Wednesday's hearings, which lasted about 30 seconds, left Glyna unsatisfied, she said. She left the courtroom muttering darkly.
"We can't get my daughter back, but I at least wanted to look [the judge] in the eye," she said.
As she got into the elevator, her hands reached into her purse and found the program that they created for Ghossein's funeral last Thursday.
"I'm going to give this to [the judge]," Glyna said. "To see if she has any feelings at all."
When she got back to the courtroom, Silver was gone. Glyna handed the program to a deputy, who placed it on the bailiff's desk.
"Please give this to her. She is why my daughter is dead," she said, tears welling.
-- Frank Shyong
Photo: The mother of murder victim Amanda Ghossein attends a court hearing Wednesday, holding a picture of her daughter. Credit:
Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times