SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — City leaders and community members are speaking out after a 61-year-old Land Park woman was killed in her home.
Mary “Kate” Tibbitts and her two dogs were found dead inside her home, which had also been set on fire, on 11th Avenue on Friday.
The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals posted about Tibbitts’ volunteer work Wednesday, calling her “a long-time Sacramento SPCA volunteer and lover of old dogs and good books.”
“When you have violent felons walking around and nobody knows about it, any time, any place, something awful can happen. And unfortunately, that’s what happened to this poor woman,” said Kristina Rogers, vice president of the Land Park Community.
With her community still reeling from the killing of their neighbor, Rogers expressed her frustrations with local leaders about how the suspect, Troy Davis, who has previous felony charges, was allowed to walk free.
“Public safety is their number one job and when that’s gone, you lose the public trust,” Rogers said.
Davis now faces charges of murder, arson, burglary, sexual assault and malicious maiming of animals.
After hearing about the killing, District 4 Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela said she and others are taking a closer look at what happened. Valenzuela said the issue is not the zero-bail policy but the system as a whole.
“Zero-bail still enables the arresting jurisdiction to keep somebody behind bars, that was never changed,” Valenzuela said. “And so, I want to know who made that decision to release Troy Davis back into the community — someone with two prior felonies of violence, a history of meth addiction, who was caught probably on what would have been his third strike. To release him back into the community feels like incredibly poor judgment.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Darrell Steinberg released a statement on the homicide.
“We cannot simply release people from jail onto the streets without working harder to ensure that they are getting the treatment and services they desperately need to prevent them from harming themselves or others,” Steinberg said. “We have spoken to County Supervisor Phil Serna, who is pushing for mandated treatment for people exiting the prison system with known methamphetamine issues.”
Valenzuela said that work needs to be done to create a better system.
“That’s what sets people up for success,” Valenzuela said.
While she and others push for change, there are still many questions to be asked in this investigation.
“This is the third time. How is it that he wasn’t enrolled in more programming and there wasn’t more done to try to intervene and keep him from getting to this point?” Valenzuela questioned. “It’s horrifying. Our system is really set up for folks to fail, and then people like Kate Tibbitts pay the price, and it’s unacceptable.”
Valenzuela said the city’s budget that is being voted on Wednesday includes funding for mandatory methamphetamine treatment for those who are released on parole. She also mentioned she and other city leaders will be at Tibbitt’s memorial in Land Park Thursday night.