Woman charged with murder in controversial sexual assault case

The person who committed a sexual assault that sparked fierce debate over Los Angeles County Dist. Atti. George Gascón’s policy of not trying minors as adults has been charged with murder and robbery in Kern County, authorities said.

County of Kern Dist. Atti. Cynthia Zimmer said in a brief interview on Tuesday that Hannah Tubbs is charged with the 2019 murder of a man in Lake Isabella, a community near the Kern River. Tubbs, a transgender woman, identified as male at the time of the murder and was charged under her former name, James Tubbs.

Tubbs also faces a robbery charge involving the same victim, though Zimmer wouldn’t say whether prosecutors alleged the robbery was a motive for the murder.

Zimmer declined to provide details of the alleged murder and described the victim only as a “grown male.”

Tubbs, who is due for arraignment later today in Bakersfield, remains in custody at $1 million.

In 2014, then 17-year-old Tubbs sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Palmdale restaurant, but wasn’t arrested until January 2021, when Gascón was elected district attorney. . Tubbs was allowed to plead guilty in Los Angeles County Juvenile Court and sentenced to two years in custody due to a policy implemented by Gascón that prevented minors from being tried as adults.

Gascón’s opponents seized on the case as a sign of his policy’s recklessness and refusal to make exceptions – a fury that deepened when the Times and Fox News published recordings and transcripts of the calls phone calls from Tubbs in jail. In the calls, Tubbs can be heard mocking the lightness of his sentence and calling his victim “meat.”

The embattled district attorney later admitted he made a mistake in handling the Tubbs case and backed out of his all-or-nothing rule to allow minors to be prosecuted as adults in certain situations .

But the reform-minded prosecutor defended his holistic approach to minors, citing research that suggests the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25 and that the proper framework for rehabilitating people who commit crimes while they’re are minors is a treatment center for minors.

A spokesman for Gascón said he was unaware of the murder case. Zimmer said his office did not notify LA County prosecutors of the homicide investigation at the time of Tubbs’ sexual assault prosecution in Palmdale.

Los Angeles Times

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