Los Angeles deputies found Palmdale native Andres Cachu, 25, slumped over his steering wheel on July 19 with a firearm in his waistband. They suspected he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When deputies tapped on his window to awaken him, the man fled in the vehicle but crashed after driving the wrong way on a freeway.
Cachu is charged with one felony count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle and driving against traffic, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession for sale of methamphetamine and possession for sale of cocaine. He also faces one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of a drug, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm and possession of cannabis for sale.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“We are disappointed to learn that Mr. Cachu has not availed himself of the support that he so clearly needs, grateful that no physical harm came to anyone, and are committed to holding him accountable as an adult in this case,” Gascón said in a statement.
In October 2016, Cachu was convicted of murder and robbery in the shooting death of Louis Amela, 41, in Los Angeles. He admitted to the shooting while in a jail holding cell with two undercover deputies who secretly recorded their 45-minute conversation, according to an appellate court panel hearing his case.
Also in 2016, California voters approved Proposition 57, prohibiting prosecutors from charging juveniles as adults without a judge’s approval. The new law also allowed those convicted as adults for crimes committed as juveniles to appeal their sentences. Cachu, 17 at the time of Amela’s killing, appealed his 50-years-to-life sentence. In November, Gascón’s office did not seek a court hearing to try to keep Cachu behind bars and an appellate panel ordered him to be released.
Gascón, who is facing a recall effort, said in a statement that the ruling to let the convict out last November was based “upon the facts of the case and the individual characteristics of Mr. Cachu.”
“We determined that we would not likely prevail in a transfer hearing because we could not prove that he would not have benefited from juvenile resources at the time of the original offense—again, as the law requires,” Gascón’s statement read. “We asked the court to remand Mr. Cachu to the Department of Juvenile Justice and that request was denied. We are frustrated to see that he is struggling, and again, will hold him accountable for the charged offenses.”
The attorney who represented Amela’s family, Kathleen Cady, said late last week that Cachu was released only because of Gascón’s policies and the actions of his special adviser handling the case, Alisa Blair, adding that they “are the ones who must be held accountable.”
Cachu is being held on $1.33 million bail while awaiting his hearing on Aug. 1. The court will determine if there’s enough evidence to move the case forward in a trial.
City News Service contributed to this report.