Chelsea King Update: Sex Offender Violated Parole Before King Disappeared, was Given a Pass

John Albert Gardner III is escorted by sheriff deputies as he glances toward the judge at an arraignment where he pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the case involving teenager Chelsea King in a San Diego Superior Courtroom Wednesday March 3, 2010 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Lenny Ignelzi
John Albert Gardner III (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

ESCONDIDIO, Calif. (CBS/AP) Chelsea King's alleged killer, John Albert Gardner III, violated his parole at least five times while on probation for molesting and beating a teenage girl in 2000, and each time he was left on the streets.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil

Sex offender Gardner, who is also being investigated for the murder of teenager Amber Dubois, had his first parole violation in 2007 when he was found to be illegally living within a half-mile of a school in September 2007 - but state officials decided to leave him out on parole, according to state records.

The records show at least five subsequent violations, the last on Sept. 8, 2008, just 18 days before Gardner was let go from parole supervision and had his location-tracking GPS bracelet removed from his ankle. Amber Dubois went missing four months after the state stopped tracking Gardner.

"It was just an incompetent decision that didn't protect public safety," said state Sen. George Runner, who wrote Jessica's Law, the sex offender law approved by voters in 2006.

Gardner, 30, served five years in prison and three years of parole after pleading guilty in 2000 to molesting a 13-year-old neighbor girl.

If Gardner had been returned to prison in 2007 he would have been evaluated for commitment to a state mental hospital as a sexually violent predator. He also would have qualified for wearing an electronic tracking device for the rest of his life.

Gardner pleaded not guilty last week to murdering Chelsea King, 17, whose presumed body was found March 2 buried in a park near her hometown of Poway north of San Diego. He also is charged with assaulting a woman in the same park in December, and is a suspect but has not been charged in the disappearance of 14-year-old Amber Dubois as she walked to school in Escondido in early 2009.

Amber's skeletal remains were found Saturday on an Indian reservation.

"And now we have, what, two victims and who knows what else is out there?" Runner said.

PICTURES: Chelsea King Missing
PICTURES: Chelsea King Vigil

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