Murder victim’s sister reacts to accidental release of accused killer

Posted at 4:06 PM, Jul 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-29 18:06:00-04

Thomas Ballesteros’ sister Rachel Velez says she’s thankful Brian Smith is being bars, and relieved no one was injured, but she says the mistake shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Velez tells us she’s reaching out to state officials now. “I emailed letters to Mayor Harry Kim, Governor Ige, and all the people who I thought may be able to help find out why this happened. I don’t want them to be pointing fingers at who did what. I just want someone to admit they made a mistake, instead of saying they don’t know how it happened. Like I said, it wasn’t a tiny mistake, it was a big mistake; they let a murderer out of jail.”

Velez describes her late brother as “a good person” and says he would have turned 43 this September.