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Why Are Repeat Offenders Not Being Locked Up? These Two Murders Are Raising Public Concerns


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There's new evidence of rising crime and violence from coast to coast, including crimes committed by repeat offenders who should be in jail rather than walking the streets. 

From major cities to smaller regions, violent crime is spiking. The latest report comes from Montgomery County, Maryland, where year-end statistics show crime is up sharply including killings and carjackings, according to WTOP-TV.  

There were 32 homicides and 67 carjackings in 2021 which is an 88% increase in homicides and 72% increase in carjackings, the county council's public safety council was told Tuesday, according to the station.  

But two murders in America's biggest cities, which happened on opposite ends of the country, are making headlines as concerns rise about public safety. In both cases, police say the suspects are repeat offenders and homeless. 

In Los Angeles, CA, Brianna Kupfer, a 24-year-old UCLA graduate student, was stabbed to death last week as she worked alone in a high-end furniture store.

The suspect was identified as 31-year-old Shawn Laval Smith. Smith was considered "armed and dangerous," the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) announced.

Authorities tweeted Wednesday that Smith had been detained by police in Pasadena. 

"We can confirm, Shawn Laval Smith, the suspect responsible for the murder of Brianna Kupfer is in custody."

The New York Post reports court records show Smith's criminal record includes charges for gun crimes and even an attack on a police officer. 

In October 2020, he was released on $1,000 bail after a misdemeanor arrest in California in which prosecutors chose not to press charges, the Covina Police Department said.

He also appears to be free on a $50,000 bond in South Carolina in relation to a November 2019 arrest on suspicion of firing a weapon into an occupied vehicle, court records show, the newspaper reported. 

Kupfer's father says police told him the suspect should have been in jail.  

Todd Kupfer told The Post he "heard his rap sheet is much worse" — insisting police told him that the suspect in his daughter's slaying should have been behind bars.

Meanwhile, in New York City, police say an emotionally disturbed homeless man confessed to pushing 40-year-old Michelle Goh in front of a subway train over the weekend.

The NYPD identified the suspect as 61-year-old Simon Martial. Martial, who police said is homeless, was charged with second-degree murder. 

Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox said Martial has a criminal history but he has been on parole. "He does have in the past three emotionally disturbed encounters with us that we have documented," he said.

Martial was ordered held without bail on Wednesday, Fox News reported. Prosecutors said police are still investigating if the attack was racially motivated. 

A social media user tweeted an image of the makeshift memorial for Goh at the subway station.

With rising crime in the city's subways, New York's new Democratic mayor admits that even he doesn't feel safe. "We're going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system and they don't feel that way now. I don't feel that way when I take the train every day or when I'm moving throughout our transportation system," said Mayor Eric Adams. 

Homeless advocates say the increase in crime points to a need to improve mental health services.

The LAPD reports about 10 percent of murders committed in the city in 2021 had a homeless suspect.

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of