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Woman Witnessed Jorge Zambrano's Violence Months Before He Killed Auburn Officer

BOSTON (CBS) – While Auburn mourns the loss of Officer Ronald Tarentino, Cynthia Katz wonders why her call to police three months ago didn't land his killer behind bars.

"I just think it's sad this could've been prevented," Katz told WBZ-TV.

Keller: Why Wasn't Jorge Zambrano In Prison?

Katz called police from her car after she saw a man hit a woman in a breakdown lane of Interstate 495.

"He punched her in the face and we saw her fall to the ground," she says.

Cynthia Katz Jorge Zambrano
Cynthia Katz recalls her encounter with Jorge Zambrano. (WBZ-TV)

When Massachusetts State Police responded, they found Jorge Zambrano, known to have an extensive criminal record, and his girlfriend.

Court documents allege that Zambrano threatened troopers, who used pepper spray to calm him down during the arrest.

Documents quote him as saying, "I'm not going back." If he was talking about prison, he was right.

The next day, the Worcester District Attorney's office filed a motion asking a judge to revoke bail and lock him up.

Judge Andrew Mandell denied the motion.

Jorge Zambrano
Jorge Zambrano (Image credit: Auburn Police)

Court audio obtained by Mass Live indicates the judge struggled with the decision.

"This is troubling. Authority means nothing to him," Mandell is heard saying before deciding to set bail.

Zambrano's girlfriend then posted $500 to free him.

WBZ-TV Legal Analyst Harry Manion says it happens all too often in a system overloaded with cases.

"When you have a period of 18 years with multiple incidents, with multiple different police forces, that has to give the sentencing judge at the last time pause to say, 'What are we dealing with here? Do we really want to send him back out on the street?'"

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