BOSTON (CBS) — In the wake of a Yarmouth police officer’s murder, the delegation of state lawmakers from Cape Cod want answers about how the criminal justice system handled the career criminal accused of the heinous crime.

Yarmouth K-9 Sgt. Sean Gannon was killed in the line of duty earlier this month when he and other officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant.

Thomas Latanowich, a man with a lengthy criminal background and a previous prison stint, is charged with the murder.

gannon lantanowich Cape Cod Lawmakers Question Justice System’s Handling of Accused Cop Killer

Officer Sean Gannon (Photo credit: Yarmouth Police) and Tom Latanowich. (WBZ-TV)

“When something like this happens, it just rips the heart out of the community,” said Rep. William Crocker, a Republican lawmaker from Barnstable. “People are angry and sad. The entire community is going through the stages of grief.”

As the WBZ I-Team exclusively reported, Gannon faced his accused killer in court last year, providing testimony in a domestic violence case. A conviction for the charges of strangling a pregnant woman would’ve landed Latanowich back behind bars.

However, the alleged victim did not want to cooperate with prosecutors. Despite Gannon’s account, a judge dismissed the case.

A year later, the two men would meet again in the fatal encounter.

“How can a guy that had 125 charges against him for his criminal career be allowed to be let out into the general public?” Crocker asked. “He had a past history of violence. I mean these are people who just do not need to be out in the general public.”

crocker Cape Cod Lawmakers Question Justice System’s Handling of Accused Cop Killer

Rep. William Crocker (WBZ-TV)

Crocker and his fellow Cape Cod lawmakers penned a letter to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Public Safety, requesting a legislative oversight hearing on the issue.

“To further scrutinize this matter and to identify lapses in the criminal justice system that let to Latanowich committing this crime,” the letter said.

A spokeswoman for the Trial Court told WBZ that judicial leaders would welcome the opportunity to participate.

With all of the lingering questions, the Cape Cod delegation hopes the hearing can be scheduled before the current session ends this summer.

Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him onTwitter or connect on Facebook.  

Comments
  1. John Wolf says:

    Nothing will change until the power to appoint judges is taken away from the Governor’s office and given to the voting public, where it belongs. Judgeships are given out like candy by governors as rewards for political fealty, mostly to legislators who retire or are voted out of office. There is virtually no accountability to the people of the Commonwealth. The judges responsible for the deaths and injuries to our police officers and to our citizens never so much as receive a reprimand, never mind lose their jobs. Until they become accountable to the voters, this incompetence and abuse will continue unabated.

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