WOODLAND, Calif. (KTXL) — Thousands of inmates have been released from prison due to the pandemic, but one Northern California mother is wondering why an inmate who was handed a 15-year sentence in 2017 will be allowed to walk free in a few days.
The case, which involved sex trafficking charges, took place in Yolo County.
Kimberly Eggart said her daughter is still working to overcome the incident and that it’s not fair the person responsible is being allowed to walk early.
“I knew he would get an early release but I had no idea it would be this early,” Eggart told FOX40.
Arthur McKellar, the inmate, is set to walk free Nov. 24.
A jury in 2017 found McKellar and two other people guilty of sex trafficking related charges.
Eggart said the incident involving her daughter started in 2014.
“As soon as I open up her Facebook, she was sitting right across from me. I open her Facebook and read the messages, got in the car and drove straight to the police department,” Eggart said. “She was being sex trafficked. It was all right there in writing.”
She said it took her a while to convince authorities of what was happening. So when McKellar was sentenced to 15 years and four months, it was a small victory.
“I knew eventually I would. I didn’t think it would be a third of a sentence,” Eggart said. “Absolutely not.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said McKellar is being released early because before his sentencing in 2017 he received almost three years of pre-sentence credit for time served.
Then, because of the passing of Proposition 57 in 2016, in which nonviolent inmates received enhanced credit opportunities, McKellar was able to take advantage of that and good behavior, leaving him with six months left to serve.
But the pandemic is now expediting that.
“For years now, California has no longer believed in truth and sentencing,” said Melinda Aiello.
Aiello is the assistant chief deputy district attorney in Yolo County and doesn’t have any connections to the case.
“It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking to see the impact towards victims,” Aiello said. “And it’s unfortunate that CDCR was unable to manage the spread of COVID.”
But for Eggart, she’s heartbroken her daughter isn’t close to making any significant recovery while the person responsible will be walking free.
“Over the last three years, she has completely disassociated. She doesn’t know who I was and she doesn’t know who she was,” Eggart said. “She would talk about herself in the third person. She would tell you that she died.”
Eggart said what gets her is that sex trafficking related charges are considered nonviolent.
She said she has already filed paperwork to make sure McKellar doesn’t come within 35 miles of her and her daughter.
“We need more advocacy in this state for victims and for survivors of violent and nonviolent crimes,” Eggart said.