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Rally For Erica Evelyn Escobar, Allegedly Killed by Man Released by California on 'Non-Revocable Parole'

The victims.
The victims.
Patrick Healy

The family of 27-year-old Culver City murder victim Erica Evelyn Escobar will protest a controversial policy that put her alleged killer under minimal supervision after he was released from prison last year.

Thirty-one-year-old Zachariah Lehnen is accused in the early May double murder of Escobar and 89-year-old World War II vet Lucien Bergez at the latter's Culver City home.

He was in prison late last on a drug charge and was eligible to be released on non-revocable parole. So he was. The program ...

... is designed to reduce the number of prisoners who end up back behind bars for small violations of their parole (smoking a joint or hanging out with a gang member, for example). California's prisons are grossly overcrowded, so every little thing helps.

Normally, a parolee can be "violated" back to prison for any little thing, and the burden of proof isn't like it is in a court of law: If a parole officer says you did it, that's about it.

In the case of Lehnen, family members allege ...

... Erica Evelyn Escobar and Lucien Bergez were beaten, tortured and murdered by Lehnen Zachariah, a recently released parolee classified as a low level, non-violent criminal offender who had been placed on non-revocable parole.

Lehnen was picked up in a West Hollywood alley days after the killings. He's charged with two counts of murder with special circumstances (the slayings were allegedly committed during the course of a robbery).

The rally, with State Sen. Ted Lieu scheduled to attend, happens Friday at 11 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan State Building, 300 S. Spring St.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]