A two-strike Tulare County felon got out of jail. Now, he’s accused of killing two women

JUNE 02, 2020 04:35 PM , UPDATED JUNE 03, 2020 10:54 AM

A Tulare County man, who was let out of jail early to await sentencing for two felonies was arraigned Tuesday for the alleged murders of two women.

If convicted, Barry Dantzler, 30, faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for the alleged murders of Heather Sloan, 37 and Heather Maciel, 44.

Sloan was found inside her Visalia home on May 26 in what police believe was a deadly home invasion robbery.

Dantzler, a two-strike felon, is accused of causing Maciel’s death while he was being chased by police on May 29. Dantzler was near the Motel 6 in Tulare when he allegedly lost control of his car, crashed into a utility pole and then rolled into Maciel.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said in a statement Tuesday his office opposed Dantzler’s request to delay his sentencing to a later date. The request is called a Cruz Waiver and is granted by a judge to defendants who need some time to get their affairs in order before going to prison.

In Dantzler’s case, he pleaded no contest to felony evading and hit and run in exchange for being let out of a jail about two months before his sentencing.

Judge Michael B. Sheltzer granted the waiver and released him on Feb. 25.

He was supposed to report to parole and probation and return on April 13 for sentencing. But the court moved the sentencing date to June 15. And Dantzler never reported to parole and probation, according to the DA’s Office.

Had he reported for parole and probation like he was supposed to, Dantzler would have been sentenced to three years and four months.

Now, if convicted, Dantzler faces the possibility of a life sentence, or even the death penalty.

“My heart breaks for the victims, their families, and their friends in this tragic series of events,” Ward said. “This office has vehemently opposed early release of violent criminals by our courts. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario has occurred and left two families broken and a community in shock. This office will not relent in opposing early release and seeking justice for victims.”

Dantzler’s criminal past includes prior strikes for criminal threats in 2011 and three attempted robberies in 2013, which also included being a felon in possession of ammunition and a firearm.

Dantzler served nine years in state prison for both cases and was paroled in 2018. Shortly after being released, Dantzler committed another felony offense and failed to appear at his June 2019 sentencing, according to the Tulare County DA’s Office.