A man on parole since Sept. 15 took all of eight days to violently attack someone else.
Robert Berger, 48, had been trying to break into a home near the Lasley sisters — Bre and Kayli. Remember that because it’s going to be very important in a bit.
Berger, not having any luck, found his way to the home of 28-year-old Bre. Shortly before midnight, he waltzed into her room carrying a knife and whispered an ominous message to the young woman.
“I’m going to kill you.”
Kayli, 22, sensing something was wrong, rushed to her sister’s help, but Berger kicked the girl down a staircase within the home before returning his attention to Bre.
In the ensuing scuffle, the Daily Mail notes, Berger stabbed Bre in the leg and the stomach.
In comments to Fox 13, Bre shared what happened next.
First, Berger pinned down her arms and said he would kill her, but he had to get Kayli first. That’s just what he did, grabbing Kayli and choking her against a wall before Bre tackled him.
“You can kill me just please don’t kill my sister!” the older sibling screamed.
At this point, Berger reportedly stabbed the woman “multiple times” and held the knife to her throat before Bre noticed there was another man in the home. Fearing it was an accomplice, she began to give up.
That’s when the other man started shouting at Berger to drop the knife. When he didn’t, the unnamed Salt Lake City Police Officer fired one deadly shot into Berger’s head.
Apparently, Berger’s previous attempt to break into a neighboring home had not gone unnoticed. Mark Widlund was with his girlfriend in the home next door when Berger tried breaking into the room of a 2-year-old child.
Widlund fended Berger off with a hammer while the mother “jostled him out the window,” he told Deseret News.
After Berger had fled the scene, they placed a 911 call informing authorities of the incident. That’s when the officer — now on administrative leave as authorities investigate the shooting — arrived and followed Berger’s trail to the house next door.
The Lasley sisters’ house.
“He was our angel,” Bre said of the officer.
As for Berger, his arrest history included aggravated robbery “from an incident that included a kidnapping charge,” the Mail notes.
He had been going to a center specializing in the transition of inmates on parole back into normal society. No one from the center had seen him since the Sunday before the incident (September 20).
And while no one will ever have to see Berger physically again, for Bre Lasley, it isn’t that simple.
“Whenever I close my eyes I seem to have that image of him coming into my room,” she told Fox 13.
In the aftermath of the incident, some are questioning how an inmate with Berger’s past could ever be let out on parole.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for this sort of thing to occur. A story from CBS News in 2014 — reporting on Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) stats dating back to 2005 — revealed that 68 percent of people on parole reoffend within three years and 77 percent within five.
The study is frustratingly limited to just 30 states and 405,000 prisoners, causing many critics of the parole system to fear that the laziness in reporting metrics could mean the real number is even higher.
Do you think that violent offenders should ever be let loose on parole? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image of sisters via Facebook; image of bandaged wounds via Fox 13 screen grab, linked above; image of Berger before he went on parole via Salt Lake City Police]