No criminal charges for parolees who destroy ankle monitors

Prison officials won’t seek criminal charges against parolees who destroy, damage or tamper with electronic monitoring devices. 

Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, Jerry Don Sieb and Kenneth Russell Farenworth have more in common than being convicted sex offenders.

The three men each ditched their electronic monitoring devices and were unable to be tracked.

During his time on the run, Rodriguez became a suspect in a series of murders.

“It’s been over a month now, but it’s surreal,” said Eric Magana. “It still doesn’t feel like it actually happened.”

Magana’s father, Edward, is one of three people who Rodriguez allegedly murdered after ditching his electronic monitoring device.

If that wouldn’t have happened, Eric believes his father would be alive today.

“I have no doubt my father would be alive," said Eric. "I’d probably be talking to him right now.”

Rodriguez is now charged with three counts of capital murder. But the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has no plans of seeking criminal charges against Seib, Farenworth or any other parolee for destroying their electronic monitoring devices.

The reason a TDCJ spokesman gave to FOX 26 News is that the monitors are not state property and belong to a third party that has a contract with TDCJ. A contract that tax dollars more than likely pay for.

“Look at the stories you’ve done since Rodriguez, who is probably the poster child that we need such a statute,” said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers of Houston.

Kahan added that the reason TDCJ gave him for not seeking criminal charges against parolees who destroy tracking devices was fear of prison overcrowding.

Since it’s not a crime and just a technical violation of parole, the most that parolees who ditch the devices face is sixty days in a parole violator facility.

“Other states, they take this stuff very seriously,” said Kahan.

In at least seven states, parolees who destroy remove or tamper with electronic monitoring devices face felony criminal charges.