In May, Kevin Alexander Lemus was released from jail for the second time in a month, thanks to one of Virginia's top progressive prosecutors. Four months later, he killed a man.
Lemus confessed to second-degree murder for the shooting of Darlin Ariel Diaz Flores, Fairfax County police announced on Wednesday. Fairfax County commonwealth’s attorney Steve Descano (D.) released Lemus without bail in April on gun and drug charges. In May, Descano released Lemus again after he was charged for drug possession and having violated his pretrial release. Lemus killed Flores four months later.
The case is the latest instance in which progressive bail reform has allowed repeat offenders to commit murder. Descano’s office has released or dropped charges on four offenders this year who have gone on to kill. In June, Descano released a violent repeat offender on probation who later beat an elderly homeless woman to death.
The left-wing billionaire George Soros donated over half-a-million dollars to Descano's campaign as part of a nationwide push to elect progressive prosecutors. Many Soros-backed prosecutors have since eliminated bail and released offenders before trial in an effort to reduce incarceration.
Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares (R.) told the Washington Free Beacon that "the Fairfax commonwealth's attorney must do his job and fight for justice for victims, not criminals."
"Routinely giving repeat offenders light sentences and allowing them to quickly return to Virginia's streets is not only disrespectful to the victims of violent crime, but encourages more crime and creates more victims," Miyares said.
Maj. Ed O’Carroll said Lemus was "no stranger" to police in Fairfax County, having more than 80 interactions with officers in the past.
"We are all safer with Lemus behind bars," O’Carroll said. "He chose to have a gun—not his first time. He chose to shoot a man and ultimately take a life Saturday night in Fairfax County. Now he will face his consequences for his actions."
Homicides in Fairfax County rose 40 percent after Descano’s first year in office. They are set to outpace their 2021 levels, with at least 12 recorded so far this year.
But Descano shows no signs of changing course. In September, the prosecutor’s office dropped the majority of charges against a repeat offender who in February threatened officers with a loaded rifle. Given his record, the man could have been sent to prison for over a decade. Thanks to Descano’s intervention, the offender will serve just six months in prison.
After publication, a spokesman for Descano's office told the Free Beacon that it was "inaccurate to state our office decided to release this individual," because a judge made a decision to release Lemus. But a Virginia law passed in 2021 instructs judges to grant bail in most cases, leaving it to prosecutors to decide which offenders should be kept in jail. Descano's bail policy instructs prosecutors to release all nonviolent offenders before their trial.
Lemus committed nonviolent offenses in April and May this year. He is now being held at Fairfax County's Adult Detention Center. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Update 9:58 a.m.: This piece has been updated with comment from Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares.
Update 11:26 a.m.: This piece has been updated with comment from Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney Steve Descano.