A George Soros-backed prosecutor in Virginia released on probation a violent repeat offender who went on to kill an elderly homeless woman—the third case of its kind in the jurisdiction this year.
Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney Steve Descano (D.) in October charged Chante Antonio Jones with assault and battery before releasing him on recognizance, slapping him with just a $212 fine and one-year period of supervised probation. Police on Monday arrested Jones for beating 63-year-old Michelle Huntley to death at a bus stop where she had taken shelter.
The brutal killing last week is just the latest instance in which bail reform and lightened sentencing by so-called criminal justice reform prosecutors have brought deadly consequences. The Washington Free Beacon reported that Descano's office dropped felony charges against a man who was later charged with killing two homeless men in Washington, D.C., and New York City in March. Two months before, another gunman, whom Descano had pleaded out on misdemeanors in 2020, killed an 18-year-old at a bus stop.
"An innocent Virginian lost their life because of the criminal-first, victim-last mentality pushed by far-left prosecutors," Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares (R.) told the Free Beacon. "Continually giving repeat offenders light sentences and allowing them to quickly get back onto the street only encourages more crime and creates more victims."
Jones, who is also known as Siddiq Khashi Salam, is a repeat offender with more than a dozen charges in Fairfax County in the past three years, including larceny, public intoxication, and indecent exposure. Huntley, who was affectionately called "Mama" by residents, according to ABC 7, was found around midnight on June 17 with evidence of trauma to her upper body. First responders rushed her to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries days later. Police records show Jones's assault-and-battery charges stemmed from punching someone in the face months before on a block close to the Huntley killing.
Descano's office did not respond to a request for comment. Jones has been charged with aggravated malicious wounding for Huntley's death (a class-two felony carrying a minimum 20-year sentence), pending a medical examiner's report.
Through his Justice and Public Safety PAC, Soros dropped more than half-a-million dollars in 2019 to help elect Descano, along with other left-wing Virginia commonwealth's attorneys like Loudoun County's Buta Biberaj and Arlington County's Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. Each pushed out veteran prosecutors who had served decades in their counties, promising in their campaigns to reduce incarceration and oppose many felony convictions.
Homicides in Fairfax County are set to outpace their 2021 levels, with 12 so far compared with 10 by this point the year before. The rate last year jumped 40 percent from 2020. A full annual police report, however, has not been released by the county in 2022.
Descano's approach to criminal justice, which has enabled repeat offenders, is now fueling recall efforts in Northern Virginia.
"This abhorrent crime was totally preventable," Sean Kennedy, who is running one of the recall efforts, told the Free Beacon. "Virginians for Safe Communities is dedicated to seeing justice done and removing Steve Descano from office for violating his oath to uphold justice and protect the public. … Like Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, Steve Descano poses a clear and present danger to public safety in Fairfax County."
The recall effort has amassed more than half of the roughly required 30,000 signatures to trigger a special election to remove Descano from office, according to Kennedy.