The man charged in the stabbing death of a woman near Hollywood and Highland had a lengthy criminal record and a history of mental illness.
Dustin James Kinnear, a homeless man known as an aggressive panhandler on Hollywood Boulevard, was arrested at least 46 times during the past eight years, The Los Angeles Times reports.
His rap sheet includes seven arrests for assault with a deadly weapon. He has been in and out of mental health treatment facilities since he was 5 and had lived on the streets of Hollywood since 2008, according to his mother. He left his native Tucson, Ariz., after he received a court order to undergo mental health treatment.
“I always knew I would get a call about him being dead or doing something awful,” April Pena, his mother and a Tucson police detective, told The Times. “Our family is beside itself. We are really sick because we know he’s taken a life. We think of him as the young person we once knew. But I’ve called the police on him many times.”
On June 18, Kinnear and another homeless man were near the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex and were approached by Christine Calderon, 23, and a co-worker, according to reports. She used her cell phone to take a picture of the men, who were with a sign reading "F--- You. Give me a dollar please” with a smiley face. When one of the men asked her to pay $1 for taking the picture, she refused.
Two men then held Calderon’s co-worker against a wall while Kinnear allegedly stabbed her. He has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. LAist posted a picture of the suspect allegedly taken before the fatal incident.
Police officials and local prosecutors told The Times they had sought the maximum penalties for Kinnear’s previous crimes, though some said his case shows that offenders with mental health issues often fall through the cracks.
Kinnear’s other arrests include a November 2010 charge in the attack a Subway restaurant security guard. He pleaded guilty to assault with a great bodily injury and was incarcerated for several months before being released on probation. He broke his probation several weeks later for misdemeanor charges, including public defecation and failing to appear in court.
He later was charged in the assault of his girlfriend, and in a separate incident, the assault of another homeless person. Both cases were dropped because the victims did not show up to court.
In 2011, his public defender Marya Shahriary explained to a judge: “We have a young man who is bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic and epileptic. Before this problem, he was described taking clonopin and dilantin,”
Before the murder charge, filmmaker Chadwick Davis interviewed the suspect as part of a documentary about the homeless. In the video (seen below) Kinnear says, “Hollywood is a full of nothing but a trendy bunch of [expletive deleted] stuck-up yuppies. That’s it, that’s all they are.”
In an interview with CBS Los Angeles, Davis said the men clearly did not want to be homeless.
“They all could have been on their last string of hope, of life, of desperation.”