Why was he even on the street?
That’s the question friends of slain Midwood man Yusef Robinson are asking after learning that the man arrested for the murder was not only an ex-con who was on parole — but also had a warrant out for his arrest since June.
Eion Klass has a long, violent criminal record — and was on parole from an attempted murder in 1997. As a parolee, he was required to meet regularly with his parole officer — but apparently stopped showing up for those visits after he allegedly robbed his girlfriend’s new lover.
He was never taken into custody on that charge — and the state Division of Parole can’t give a clear reason why.
“This is a whole different level of insanity,” bemoaned Shais Rison, a longtime friend of Robinson, who called the fallen liquor store clerk “one of our generation’s bright lights.
“People fall through the cracks in the legal system all the time. [Klass] was one of them.”
Police arrested Klass for shooting and killing Robinson, a one-time gangster rapper and drug dealer who gave up his criminal ways to become an Orthodox Jew, during a furious robbery attempt inside MB Vineyards on Nostrand Avenue between Avenues J and K back on Aug. 19.
Klass is currently incarcerated without bail for the murder — a killing that would never have happened had Klass, a repeat offender, not been granted parole 10 months ago.
He almost was not. Two prior attempts to gain parole were turned down because his crimes “showed a propensity for extreme violence,” according to the parole board.
But by October, 2009, Klass was granted his “conditional release” after fulfilling two-thirds of his sentence. He was on parole until 2015.
As a condition of his release, he was required to regularly meet with his parole officer, although a spokesman for the parole agency said he did not know how frequently these meetings were held.
Klass was also ordered to stay away from the man he shot in the head on E. 21st Street between Dorchester Road and Ditmas Avenue back in 1997 and “take part in anger/aggression counseling,” the spokesman, Mark Violette, said.
Violette could not say why Klass wasn’t immediately picked up when his former girlfriend’s new beau filed robbery charges against him in June. And Violette would not identify Klass’s parole officer or tell us if the state official was disciplined for apparently loosening his reins on the violent repeat offender.
This apparent lack of responsibility left local civic leaders fuming.
“How could a guy like this be out and have an arrest warrant hanging over our heads?” questioned Chaim Deutsch of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol. “The law has to be tweaked to protect the people.”
Tom Hernandez, the president of the Fraser Civic Association, agreed.
“I don’t understand why the judicial system would allow someone like this to be out on the street,” he said. “I hope that he’ll never make it back on the streets of New York again.”