DA opposes release of transient violent sexual predator in Susanville

Publishers note: Court files are public records that should be available for viewing upon request. However, Wednesday morning, Feb. 7, Lassen News asked to see the case file on this predator and a court clerk said the file was in storage and since she was the only one working she couldn’t retrieve the file. She said the court would call Lassen News when the file became available for viewing, but we did not hear from the Hall of Justice by deadline. Lassen News will try to view at the file again tomorrow so we can provide more information from this public document for our readers.

Lassen County District Attorney Susan Rios doesn’t want a felon sexual predator who has spent more than 20 years behind bars released as a homeless transient here in Susanville.

Rios said she expected the predator to be released in Susanville tomorrow, but Jeremy Micone, a public information officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation expects the felon will be released as a transient in Susanville next week.

According to an April 19, 2005 story in the Lassen County Times, John Ochoa’s statements to investigators regarding the charges filed against him — five counts of rape by use of force or fear on a 14-year-old girl, five counts of oral copulation and additional charges of sodomy and kidnapping — are admissible in court.

According to the Lassen County Times story, “Susanville police reported one of the alleged rapes, all of which were alleged to have happened on June 5, 2004, occurred in Susanville’s Pioneer Cemetery off Court Street.

“According to a court transcript of Ochoa’s Sept. 28, 2004, preliminary hearing, Ochoa also allegedly sexually assaulted the victim in her home, where he tied her ankles and wrists with the wires from a Playstation 2 controller. He also allegedly assaulted her on the Janesville Grade and on the Bizz Johnson Trail.

“The case also alleges Ochoa was convicted in June of 1990 of shooting a police officer in Brooksville, Florida. It includes an enhancement that all the charges are serious felonies.”

Rios said Ochoa has applied for placement in other locations, and even a possibility of parole in Florida, but decisions on those alternatives have not been made.

She said she inquired about having Ochoa housed as a sexually violent predator, but she said he did not meet the criteria.

Rios also said she has objected to his release into Lassen County.

“I hope — my fingers are crossed — that his transitional housing will work out in one of those other counties,” Rios said. “It’s still too close to us, in my opinion, but at least it’s not here.”

Rios said she believes due to his risk assessment he may have to wear an ankle monitor.

According to Rios, if Ochoa is a transient, he only has to register with the Susanville Police Department every 30 days.

If he paroles here, his address is expected to be Crossroads, Rios said.