Federal Inmate Released Under First Step Act Arrested For Murder

Former Latin Kings leader Joel Francisco began violating his release conditions within weeks of his release from prison.

Providence, RI – A convicted felon who was released from his life sentence in February under President Donald Trump’s First Step Act has since been arrested for allegedly stabbing a man to death.

Convicted crack-cocaine dealer Joel Francisco, 41, was sentenced to life in federal prison in 2005 for his third felony drug conviction, the Providence Journal reported.

In his application for release under new criminal justice reform legislation, the former Latin Kings gang leader boasted about his "significant efforts toward post-conviction rehabilitation,” and said he had “commit[ed] himself to a law-abiding life,” CNN reported.

Federal prosecutors and a district court judge bought into Francisco’s claims, and released him from federal prison in February under the First Step Act.

Within two weeks, the repeat felon violated his release conditions by using cocaine and marijuana, the Providence Journal reported.

In July, he sliced through his ex-girlfriend’s bedroom window screen with a knife, resulting in a new arrest.

In September, he tested positive for cocaine again.

Despite the slew of violations, federal probation officials failed to make any effort to revoke his probation, the Providence Journal reported.

On Oct. 2, Francisco allegedly stabbed 46-year-old Troy Pine to death at a hookah lounge in Rhode Island, according to CNN.

Federal probation officials didn’t request an arrest warrant for Francisco until Oct. 7, the Providence Journal reported.

The wanted felon fled the state after the murder, and was apprehended by federal marshals at a motel in Texas on Oct. 19.

According to police, Francisco was trying to escape to Mexico, the Inquisitr reported.

Francisco has been charged with Pine’s murder, and still faces an additional domestic breaking-and-entering charge stemming from the incident in July.

The eight years of supervised release he was granted when he was released from his life sentence is also subject to revocation, the Providence Journal reported.

Francisco was convicted of assault with intent to murder at the age of 19, according to CNN.

In 2004, he and several other crack-cocaine dealers were arrested as part of a massive, multi-agency drug trafficking investigation known as Operation Royal Flush.

Providence Police Commander Thomas Verdi said he was stunned to learn that the career criminal was going to walk out of prison, despite having received a life sentence.

"I hope that he's been rehabilitated,” Commander Thomas said at the time, according to CNN. “However, I have serious doubts, having known him the way I did all those years…He had a propensity for violence.”

As of October, over 1,500 inmates have been released under new drug resentencing laws, CNN reported.

Thousands of additional offenders – including Francisco – have been granted early prison releases.

“All you hear about are second chances,” Manhattan Institute public policy analyst Rafael Mangual told the Providence Journal. “But we have to understand a large chunk of the pool we’re talking about here have already had their second chances, and have already blown them.”

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said that Francisco’s utter failure on community supervision was “not a surprise,” CNN reported.

Cotton was among the most outspoken critics of the criminal justice reform legislation.

“Letting violent felons out of prison early as the First Step Act did leads to more crime and more victims,” he said.

Interestingly, Pine’s nephew, Jay Chattelle, said he believes the First Step Act is a good thing.

"It's a flawed system. It's a beautiful program to get people to come home that don't need to be dying in jail, don't need to be living their life in jail, but there have got to be more steps,” Chattelle told CNN. “Some people have to be held accountable.”

"I don't want to wish that man any ill will,” Chattelle said of Francisco. “I don't want any harm to come to him. I just want answers.”

U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries also read a letter from Chattelle before the House Judiciary Committee in October, CNN reported.

"Anyone who speaks my uncle's name, please speak it in a way that will draw people together and bring help to people in these communities, including human beings who have been locked up for too long,” the letter read. “Speak it in a way that brings healing to people who need it."

Comments (34)
No. 1-21
flybynight
flybynight

Can't we give him just one more chance? 🙄

Akansan
Akansan

Chattelle - what the heck were you smoking before the interview?

RetCanMilSpouse
RetCanMilSpouse

Not sure why his parole wasn't revoked with the first offense, but it definitely emboldened him to commit the murder. I really hope that he isn't eligible for release again. Wondering if there will be a lawsuit against the federal parole system for the unnecessary death of the man.

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

Why I do believe there are a chosen few who would come out and be productive members of society, this guy certainly put a big black eye on that! I think there maybe should of been a lot more pre-release investigation. A leader of the Latin Kings hmm. I give that a no because he was still claiming affiliation! C'mon it isn't that difficult to figure out, smh. My condolences to the man's family who lost their loved one 🙏💔

unholyone
unholyone

Another example of "non-violent" drug users who are violent (or at the very least criminal to obtain their drug) by definition by being a drug user. Unless of course, they are rich enough to support their habit. Prosecutors are part to blame for dropping weapons charges in return for a guilty plea to drug charges. And there it is, another non-violent drug user.

bryantrent
bryantrent

Life in prison for him

Raymelson
Raymelson

It doesn't matter what the program is there will always be some that want abide by the rules

RetiredCorrections
RetiredCorrections

Does this really surprise anyone?

gfc1963
gfc1963

Congrats to all the liberal softies who came up with this crap in the first place.

Tone-x
Tone-x

Put him on death row

Stanracer
Stanracer

Well now, that was predictable as hell. Did anyone, other than bleeding heart, hug-a-thug liberals, not see that coming????☹👎

sizzle937
sizzle937

Funny. As I started reading this the song Bad Company came on radio

Dixiedamit2
Dixiedamit2

Imagine that....🤷‍♀️

Domestic goddess
Domestic goddess

Public hanging is ok for some folks.

BD54
BD54

Some people should never be considered for this. A repeat drug dealing gang leader is one. His first offense should have put him right back behind bars for the rest of his life. It proved he lied to get out.

KWRob
KWRob

2nd chance to finish what they started or to do it better this time. Lifers should be exterminated instead of taking up space and wasting tax dollars

MizzV
MizzV

Lock and load people! Politicians don't give a rat's ass about law abiding citizens unless it's an election year!!

Keep your firearm handy AT all times, watch your back!

Americans BEST learn we have to take care of ourselves because no one else is going to and definitely NOT the Liberal Communists that have infiltrated every level of our society!!

Vodkabreakfast
Vodkabreakfast

Put that puppy to sleep.

BrevardMarc27
BrevardMarc27

That’s it. While there may be a few who can mold themselves into law abiding citizens, most of these animals need to be caged with the rest of the waste products of society.

Upon due process, cage him on Federal Death Row, after his castration [may help with aggression]. I would pay good money for the honor of putting a .65 cent bullet in his head.

You NEVER know of their recidivism status until they are dead.

itsjustmeagain
itsjustmeagain

President Trump's First Step Act was not meant for violent felons. The fact that plea bargains that drop the violence charges are regularly used by prosecutors for a quick conviction is partly to blame for this man getting out of prison. Plea bargains were created for non violent offenders. The people that okayed his release need to be sued and plea bargains need to be abolished.

Anomie88
Anomie88

This was the kind of story CNN and Don Lemon brag about; but, now that he has shown his true colors, they won't report on it or they will blame the "racist" LEOs for his new crimes.