Four people arrested in connection with the weekend slayings of two women and two men outside a Northridge boarding house agreed Thursday to be extradited from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
The suspects, who were arrested Monday at the Silverton hotel and casino near the Las Vegas Strip, have not yet been charged with any crimes stemming from the quadruple slaying that occurred around 4:30 a.m. Sunday in the 17400 block of Devonshire Street.
Ka Pasasouk, 31, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Also in custody were Howard Alcantara, 30, of Glendale; Donna Rabulan, 30, of Los Angeles; and Christina Neal, 31, of Los Angeles. Alcantara, Rabulan and Neal were all booked on suspicion of aiding a felon. Alcantara was also booked on suspicion of robbery, police said.
At a court hearing today in Las Vegas, all four suspects agreed not to fight extradition to Los Angeles. It was not immediately clear when they would be brought back to the Southland.
The victims of Sunday's shooting were identified today by the Los Angeles County coroner's office as: Amanda Ghossen, 24, of Monterey Park; Jennifer Kim, 26, of Montebello; Robert Calabia, 34, of Los Angeles; and Teofilo Navales, 49, of Castaic.
Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck has declined to provide specifics about what led detectives to the suspects or the motive for the killings. But he has said the arrests resulted from 43 hours of work by eight teams of LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division detectives and that the killings stemmed from a dispute and were not random.
"People can be somewhat comforted by the fact that these individuals were all known to each other. This was not a random occurrence. It evolved from a dispute," Beck told reporters today. "We are quite content we will be able to explain the motive to the District Attorney."
According to the LAPD, the victims had been visiting friends at the house on Devonshire Street when they were fatally shot. Neighbors had reported hearing screaming and gunshots and the victims were found outside the house, police said.
The owner of the boarding house told media outlets that none of the victims lived at the home, nor did they have any connection with anyone who lived there. He also denied that he was running a boarding house.
The owner told the Los Angeles Times that he lives at the house and was asleep inside when the shootings occurred but didn't hear anything.
City Councilman Mitchell Englander said the property was an unlicensed boarding home but had not been a problem location for police.
Meanwhile, questions were being raised by some local officials about whether Pasasouk -- the alleged gunman in Sunday's shooting -- should have been out of custody. He was on probation at the time of the killings after serving about two weeks in jail for a no-contest plea to methamphetamine possession. Pasasouk also had multiple convictions dating back to 2004.
Pasasouk was released from prison in January under the state's new realignment law that allows for the early release of state prisoners serving time for non-violent, non-serious or non-sexual offenses. The realignment was enacted under legislation known as AB109 and is designed to reduce state prison costs and overcrowding. But Pasasouk repeatedly failed to check in with a Los Angeles County probation officer after his release, L.A. County Probation Department Deputy Chief of Adult Field Services Reaver Bingham said.
Pasasouk, who had a significant criminal history prior to the offense that qualified him for release, was arrested again in early September for drug possession.
"We recommended that probation be denied and that he go to state prison," Bingham said. "We did not want him in the community."
But in mid-September, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge -- noting there were no weapons involved in the drug offense -- sentenced Pasasouk to spend about two weeks in jail and then serve probation.
Pasasouk was late for a follow up hearing on Nov. 14, at which he violated his probation by failing to show proof he was enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program, Bingham said.
After repeated non-compliance with the terms of his probation, officials began the process of issuing a warrant for Pasasouk's arrest. That process was continuing when the Northridge shootings occurred, Bingham said.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Beck said he could not say whether Pasasouk would have still been in custody without the realignment program.
"What I can say though is that he certainly would have had an increased level of scrutiny via probation or parole absent 109," Beck said. "This is a discussion that law enforcement and all of California are struggling with.
"... I understand that the state needs to cut its incarceration budget. I just don't want it done on the backs of the people of Los Angeles," he said.
Bingham declined to comment on Beck's statement, except to say, "The probation department works very hard to engage in public safety and put public safety as our first and foremost priority."
The department will conduct an evaluation and internal review of the policies and procedures that were applied in Pasasouk's case, Bingham said.