The loved ones of a Bank of America executive who was found beaten to death inside her home are pressing for special circumstance charges to be filed against her alleged killer as Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor faces criticism and a recall effort over his progressive policies.
Michelle Avan, 48, had recently been promoted to a senior vice president position when she was killed by her former boyfriend, a colleague, Anthony Turner, authorities said. She was found Aug. 5, 2021, inside her home in Los Angeles’ Reseda neighborhood.
Avan’s loved ones are frustrated with District Attorney George Gascon’s office for not filing special circumstances charges against Turner, saying he could be possibly be freed on parole after 10 years if convicted.
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“He’s eligible for anything that a murderer should not be eligible for,” Avan’s brother, Patrick Miller, told Fox News.
Turner is charged with murder and first-degree burglary. He was released on bond days after his arrest. Fox News has reached out to Gascon’s office.
Avan’s loved ones plan to rally Thursday in front of the DA’s office to pressure him to file stronger charges.
Authorities said Turner entered Avan’s home on Aug. 3 and killed her before leaving the next day. Her body was discovered by her son, Trevon Avan.
Gascon has faced criticism since taking office in December 2020 over his controversial directives that include not seeking bond for some criminal suspects, refusing to prosecute certain crimes and not seeking sentencing enhancements for others.
Opponents are in the midst of a second recall effort against the progressive prosecutor whose efforts to re-imagine how crimes are dealt with in California’s most populated county has drawn the ire of fellow district attorneys, law enforcement officials and tough-on-crime advocates.
An earlier recall effort failed to garner enough signatures from registered voters. Recall supporters have said crime has risen since Gascon took office, though crime began seeing an uptick in the months before he was elected as well as in other cities across the country.
The one criticism they all voice is that Gascon, a former San Francisco district attorney and assistant chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has abandoned crime victims in favor of protecting the rights of criminals.
Desiree Andrade, whose son Julien was murdered in 2018, is part of the committee leading the recall effort against him.
“In my son’s case, they were all facing special circumstances… and those are being dismissed. They were all facing the death penalty or life without parole and now they’re only facing 25 years with the possibility of parole,” she told Fox News. “To me, that’s a slap in the face. So I can see how the Avan family is upset about this. There are no consequences anymore.”
Some of Gascon’s own prosecutors have also publicly come out against his policies.
“George Gascón says ‘facts matter.’ They do,” Jonathan Hatami tweeted Monday. “Homicides & shootings are at a 15-yr high in LA. Releasing criminals on $0 bond, defunding the police, refusing to prosecute crimes, issuing blanket policies, & failing to hold people accountable are not reforms & only lead to violence.”
The Avan family is hoping that prosecutors will levy the most serious charges in Turner’s case, but they aren’t optimistic.
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“I don’t believe his policies are for the people he was voted to serve,” Miller said, adding that he believes Gascon’s directives are politically-driven. “We expect justice when something happens. He puts you in a position to make justice seem as not the norm.”