Supervisor Phil Larson blamed for early inmate releases

FRESNO, California Police say home invaders looking for marijuana killed Gary and Sandra /*DeBartolo*/ in their own home last July.

The murders shocked neighbors in Kerman and now, a union for health care workers hopes they'll shock Fresno county voters.

In flyers mailed all over district one, they're blaming Supervisor Larson for allowing early inmate releases and making everyone in the county less safe.

It's similar to the 1988 presidential campaign when Michael Dukakis took heat from the George H.W. Bush campaign for the furlough of Willie Horton. But the flyers don't tell the whole story.

"I've voted against releasing prisoners from the jail a number of times," said Larson. "I don't favor it."

Sheriff Margaret Mims makes the ultimate decision on when to release prisoners and Larson has occasionally fought her on the issue.

The fliers correctly point out that /*Jose Reyes*/ was an early release just two days before he is accused of helping in the crime that killed the DeBartolos. But the sheriff says that has nothing to do with Supervisor Larson.

"These tactics -- it's ugliness," she said. "It's unnecessary and it just points blame where it shouldn't be pointed."

The union stands by its ads, sending Action News this statement: "We oppose Phil Larson's reelection because he has repeatedly protected his political ally, Sheriff Mims, from proper oversight, jeopardizing Fresno's safety."

Friends of the family say they were disgusted when they got the fliers and Larson says it victimizes them a second time.

"Forget me," he said. "It's not about me. It's about those innocent family members who have to relive that crime."

Larson could be under the microscope again Tuesday when supervisors discuss almost 60 proposed layoffs at the sheriff's department.

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