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.
“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 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.