Charlotte prosecutors are on pace to send about 500 habitual offenders to prison this year, which would double the number imprisoned last year, says Mecklenburg’s new district attorney, Andrew Murray. Speaking about his first 100 days in office, Murray said prosecutors have obtained what he described as “significant active sentences” for 137 habitual offenders, the Charlotte Observer reports. All of them, he said, had at least three prior felony convictions.
During the first three months of last year, under former District Attorney Peter Gilchrist, prosecutors obtained convictions against 78 such habitual offenders. Murray said his office and police are working together to target career criminals. He said he added two prosecutors to the DA’s habitual felons team, bringing the total to eight. Police had criticized Gilchrist for allowing too many habitual offenders back on the streets. Yesterday, a police spokesman said Murray and Chief Rodney Monroe have a similar philosophy about repeat offenders. When Murray took office Jan. 1, he became Mecklenburg’s first new DA in 36 years. The 49-year-old Republican replaced Gilchrist, who held the post since 1975. While Gilchrist was widely praised for his management of huge caseloads as crime soared during his tenure, he also was criticized for what some called a “revolving door” for criminals.