A Seattle judge released an accused shoplifter without bail for the second time Wednesday despite his extensive criminal history, including at least 18 felony and misdemeanor convictions since 1985, according to a report.
Judge Melinda Young released John Ray Lomack Wednesday weeks after Judge Kuljinder Dhillon did the same thing after he was arrested for allegedly stealing a 70-inch TV on Dec. 22 from a downtown Seattle Target store, the Jason Rantz radio show in Seattle reported.
A King County prosecutor had argued before Dhillon he should be held on $5,000 bail.
Lomack was banned from the store last year after employees claimed he tried to shoplift nearly two dozen times and racked up $6,000 in stolen property, according to the show.
In his most recent attempt, Lomack grabbed the $600 flat screen using a tool to cut plastic straps securing it to the other TVs, surveillance video of the incident allegedly shows, while store security who recognized him called police, the radio show reported.
Security officers reportedly confronted Lomack after he took the TV down an elevator on a shopping cart but he walked by them, at one point allegedly shoving a security officer. "At no point in time did he attempt to pay for the item," a court document said, according to the show.
Lomack was reportedly arrested outside the store after a struggle with police in which he denied stealing and accused the officer of being racist.
The suspect’s past convictions include fourth-degree assault and second-degree burglary, according to the show.
Dhillon has been lenient on other suspects experiencing homelessness like Lomack, the show reported, having lowered the bail for a suspect accused of gouging a Seattle police officer in the eye last year from $25,000 to $1,000.
Young also lowered the bail for a homeless man accused last June of assault and robbery from $20,000 to $5,000, the show reported.
Lomack is currently under coronavirus quarantine at a hotel for the homeless, according to the show.
A King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson told the show it is "concerned with the defendant’s pattern of repeat behavior and are concerned it’s going to continue.
"We’re also concerned he’s unlikely to return to court with his extensive criminal history that includes warrant activity on 32 cases. Only a fraction of those cases [go] to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office," spokesperson Casey McNerthney added.
Public Defender Association Equity Just Care Program clinical supervisor Gigi Huang said the group believes he will continue to "make progress" at the transitional housing program where he's staying.