Repeat Offender: A Woman Found Dead After Burglary

This article by Greg Norman of Fox News provides a prime example of why it is important to use incarceration to keep our communities safe. A 70-year-old woman, Patrice Ward, was found unresponsive in her townhome in Pasadena, California. Her husband was able to fight off the suspect and was transported to the hospital for his injuries. According to Norman, “Investigators say Ward suffered severe blunt force trauma to her head and that her home was found ransacked with numerous items missing — including two handguns”. The suspect to the murder and assault is Gilbert Viera, 35 years old. Viera is also the suspect in an additional home invasion in the same area. 

According to an article by Maria Salazar of Fox 26 Houston, “They [police] add Viera has only been out of jail for a few months after completing a four year sentence for burglary”. The fact that Viera had been arrested and convicted previously for similar criminal activity raises the point that short-term incarceration may not always be the answer to prevent future offenses by repeat offenders.  In this instance it seems clear that Viera’s crimes are escalating both in seriousness and violence. There are multiple home invasions where he is the suspect,  and now there is an elderly woman murdered and her husband injured due to his release from incarceration. Viera has committed crimes both in California and Texas.  Does this mean not only was he released in four years for his priors, but he was not being supervised on parole?  This is a case of murder and assault that could have been prevented if this habitual felon’s danger had been properly assessed and addressed.