A notorious leader of the “Almighty Latin Kings” gang has been arrested for murdering a man less than a year after being freed from federal prison by the “First Step Act.”
Joel Francisco, 41, had been wanted since October 2nd for stabbing to death 46-year-old Troy Pine at a hookah lounge in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Rhode Island, Breitbart News reported. Last week, authorities confirmed that Francisco was arrested at a motel in the San Antonio, Texas area.
In February, Francisco — dubbed the “Crown Prince” of the Latin Kings gang in 2005 — was released from federal prison after President Donald Trump signed into law the First Step Act, promoted by a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and progressive and libertarian nonprofits.
According to an investigative report by the Providence Journal‘s Brian Amaral and Katie Mulvaney, Francisco was convicted in 2005 for dealing crack cocaine and powder cocaine. The conviction was Francisco’s third drug conviction, thus he was given a mandatory life sentence in federal prison.
After Trump signed the First Step Act into law, though, Francisco had his life sentence for crack dealing reduced and he was released in February of this year, along with the other 3,100 convicts released this year by the new law.
Before his release, Francisco pleaded with the court that he had turned his life around, noting his taking part in rehabilitation programs in prison, which advocates of the First Step Act readily cited to make their case that even violent convicts could be reformed and thus released.
On July 13, about six months after being released from prison, Francisco was accused of breaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend and charged with domestic violence. Three months later, on October 2nd, police said Francisco stabbed Pine to death and immediately skipped town in an attempt to evade murder charges.
“I just want an answer,” Pine’s nephew Jay Chattelle told the Providence Journal. “I just want to know what happened to my uncle. But at the same time, you’re thinking, ‘Once this is all done, Uncle Troy is still not here.'”
Before his release from federal prison, Providence law enforcement officials warned that the former gang leader would likely commit additional crimes if released.
“Some criminals deserve to spend their lives incarcerated,” Providence Police Department Deputy Chief Thomas Verdi told the Providence Journal. “Joel is one.”
In November 2018, Breitbart News reported that the First Step Act would result in the release of thousands of drug traffickers from prison despite their dealing deadly drugs such as fentanyl and heroin. A report this year by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson stated that the First Step Act had successfully released about 240 sex offenders, nearly 60 convicted murderers and assailants, as well as almost 1,000 inmates convicted for drug crimes.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.