Time for Ventura to Get Serious

Editor’s Note: Mr. Garret Paul Sexton’s felony vandalism case docket included the following line: “Pay restitution of $12,791.60 to City of Ventura Traffic Engineering Department .” Leaving people like this on the street can be very costly. and dangerous, as you will see by the editorial below which centers on Mr. Sexton’s conviction for an assault on an elderly Ventura resident.



By Gary Watson

Garrett Sexton – Booking Photo

Living in Thousand Oaks, I pay little attention to news from the City of Ventura so I was only dimly aware of the recent Aloha Steakhouse murder incident when I was summoned to jury duty last Tuesday.  During voir dire they asked us how much I knew about it.  Satisfied that I wasn’t obsessed with it, and that I didn’t have a problem with homeless people per se, they put me on the panel.

Pretty quickly I found out why the concern – this particular case involved a Mr. Garrett Paul Sexton, a then-24 year old transient who was alleged to have perpetrated a vicious attack on a 55 year old woman, also homeless, for no obvious reason.  A witness said he threw her to the ground suddenly and started punching her in the face.  Crime scene photos showed a large lake of blood where the back of her head repeatedly struck the asphalt of the San Buenaventura beach bike path.  The victim was unconscious.  Paramedics took her to the hospital where she received numerous stitches, and a CT scan showed she probably didn’t have permanent eye damage but they’d have to follow up on that.

The witness made an emotional 911 call where she gave a good description of the Ventura Football hoodie the perp was wearing.  A few minutes later and about a hundred yards west on the same bike path, the cops found Mr. Sexton without a shirt and carrying a Ventura Football hoodie with numerous blood stains.  DNA testing showed blood from Mr. Sexton as well as the victim on the hoodie.  After two days of deliberation, we jurors returned a guilty verdict for the two assault charges and the special enhancement of Great Bodily Injury which turns it into a “serious felony” and gives Mr. Sexton a “strike”.

The deliberations weren’t easy.  There were many problems with the evidence, and with evidence that we felt should have been collected but seemingly wasn’t.  Our conclusion was VPD is simply overworked and poorly equipped.  We also had concerns with the work of the DNA lab, and the printing quality of the evidence exhibits would embarrass a middle school.  All of these things need to be improved as we very nearly ended up with a mistrial, and my advice to Ventura voters is when the cops and the labs ask for better budgets, at least in my estimation they need it.  Badly.

Once we reached a verdict we were free of the prohibition of using Google to see the backstory of this crime and this individual.  Well, it turns out he’s been arrested at least 45 times, mostly for public intoxication, but also for assault, vandalism, robbery, theft, and more probation violations and re-instatements than I could count.  You guys in Ventura need to get serious about the rising criminality and violence among your homeless population, because the people on the street and the folks that run the courts, probation, and jails, are way beyond any sensible number of these revolving door cases.  The recent changes in the law in California aren’t helping matters, and people must demand that the legislature reinstate the tools that police need to lock up people who repeatedly violate the law.

Yes it will be expensive, but what is the cost of losing the safety of your public spaces?  After all, what’s to stop the next Garrett Sexton from attacking you or your loved ones when something flips the crazy switch inside his head?

Gary Watson is a resident of Thousand Oaks.

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9 Responses to Time for Ventura to Get Serious

  1. Gary Watson June 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Just a quick update: Garrett Sexton was sentenced on June 4, 2018, to 7 years in prison. I assume that means he’ll be out by, oh, about Thursday or Friday.

  2. Citizen May 19, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Thanks to the author for exposing yet another inadequacy of VPD: “Our conclusion was VPD is simply overworked and poorly equipped. We also had concerns with the work of the DNA lab, and the printing quality of the evidence exhibits would embarrass a middle school.”

    Venturans need to demand that the city council replace VPD with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, and agency far better equipped to deal the with vagrant crime now attacking all Venturans.

    It’s also high time to stop allowing enablers to conflate the poor/jobless with the mentally-ill or drug-addicted or violent/criminal “homeless” populations. Ventura County has been infused with millions of dollars of HUD money, specifically for homeless issues and data collection, so it would seem appropriate for the VC Continuum of Care to divulge how many of the “homeless” they count each year have criminal records and how many have rejected services. Why would we ever think it wise to continue “serving” the criminals and addicted?!

    When are there enough “freebies” (housing, food, medical, phones, etc.) for criminal vagrants and criminals? Never. Building more and more shelters brings more and more homeless and vagrants and criminals as word easily spreads that Ventura is a soft and easy place to live the street lifestyle. If more citizen tax dollars are used to build shelters that allow substance abuse IN the facility/home, that allow violent behavior IN the facility/home, that allow clients to reject services, then we’re stupidly just lighting our dollars on fire.

    Present leadership doesn’t seem able to lead with any sense. It’s time for council leadership AND VPD leadership to GO!

  3. C E Voigtsberger May 12, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    See my comment about the court system under the lead story about the enforcement effort that the city has undertaken. I agree with Mr. Watson. The cost of leaving a predator such as Mr. Sexton on the street is enormous, especially when we consider all the ancillary costs of him circulating through the court system 45 times. It is much cheaper to society in the long run to put people like Mr. Sexton away for the rest of their lives so that they can’t prey on helpless 55 year old women and others. How many crimes do you think Mr. Sexton has committed for which he was not apprehended and gone through the court system?

  4. Citizen May 8, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Keep in mind while sympathizing for Ventura’s overworked police force, that median salary for a VPD officer is $134,000, and the median total compensation is $172,000. (As of July 2019, per recent City Council negotiation.)

    I believe Corney when he says we just can’t afford all the officers we need.

  5. Citizen May 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Keep in mind while sympathizing for Ventura’s overworked police force, that median salary for a VPD officer is $134,000, and the median total compensation is $172,000. (As of July 2019, per recent City Council negotiation.)

    I believe Corney when he says we just can’t afford all the officer’s we need.

  6. Chris May 8, 2018 at 8:47 am

    What we have to understand is that there’s 2 main classes of homeless, those who want off the streets and those that don’t. I’m betting Mr. Sexton falls into the latter class based on his arrest record. He will resist all suggestions of homeless services and lives a predatory lifestyle to survive. You can’t force these people into shelters, you can’t force them into drug rehab, and it’s difficult to force them into mental health facilities. We need VPD to uphold the law and stop giving these guys their own protected level of justice. Our safety is at stake. How many other people were harmed because of this one person being on the streets?

  7. Carrie May 8, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Carry protection it isn’t gonna cost anybody higher tax dollars.

    • C E Voigtsberger May 12, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      The lady who was attacked in the present case in all likelihood could not obtain a concealed carry permit. She couldn’t afford a personal firearm, nor the cost of obtaining a permit assuming she wasn’t otherwise disqualified by mental problems or past criminal record.

  8. Lewis May 7, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    People are fighting to get a homeless shelter built in Thousand Oaks.


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