Tyrone (Peanut) Howard, 30, who is accused of killing New York City police officer Randolph Holder, had a long string of breaks in a two-decade odyssey through the criminal justice system, including a jobs program he was allowed into after being convicted of armed robbery as a youthful offender and or the prison sentence in 2011 that was curtailed when he offered prosecutors information on a different case, reports the New York Times. Some city officials are pained that Howard “won relief from a legal system more primed than ever to look for alternatives to incarceration,” the Times says.
The aftermath of the killing has raised questions about some programs that provide those alternatives, including how candidates are vetted for drug diversion programs like the one Howard was in and the inconsistency of information that judges must rely on to make decisions that can affect public safety. “I don't think they should ever have let him out,” said his brother, Anthony. “They should have given him some help instead of letting him out.” Most recently, Tyrone Howard had been sought by police in connection with the shooting of a drug rival on Sept. 1. He failed to appear in court on Sept. 17. As he eluded the police, Howard seems to have turned increasingly to PCP for relief.