Richard Tuite picked up from San Diego County Jail by state parole officials

SAN DIEGO - Richard Tuite, who was acquitted in the 1998 death of 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe, has been picked up from San Diego County Jail by state parole officials.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the 44-year-old Tuite was transferred from county jail to a location outside of San Diego, and it will be at that location where he will be processed for his eventual release into the general population, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

CDCR officials said while Tuite is being processed by state corrections officials, he will be under 10 days of supervised parole and will have to wear a GPS device.

"The 10 days he's going to be supervised on parole is a relatively short period of time, but it's a direct result of doing math under the sentencing laws," said CDCR spokesman Bill Sessa.

After the 10-day period, Tuite will be freed but will have to register as a sex offender for life due to a conviction for lewdly harassing a minor 15 years ago, 10News learned.

On Dec. 6, a jury found Tuite -- who has a long history of mental illness, homelessness and arrests -- not guilty of a voluntary manslaughter count following a second trial on charges of stabbing the girl to death as she lay in bed in her family home.

He was convicted of the same charge in 2004, but a federal appeals court in 2011 ruled that Tuite didn't get a fair trial because a judge had limited cross-examination of a prosecution witness.

Tuite's original sentence was 13 years in prison for the manslaughter count and four years, four months behind bars for briefly escaping from custody at the downtown courthouse and offering a deputy $24,000 to help him get away in February 2004.

Parole agents took custody of Tuite upon his release from jail for transportation to an undisclosed location outside the San Diego area, where he will serve out his supervised release term.

Corrections officials decided on parole instead of county probation because it would allow for maximum scrutiny and counseling of the ex-inmate, Sessa said.

"The fact that we decided to put him on state parole rather than county probation shows that he has a lot of need right now," said Sessa.

The spokesman said he could not reveal where Tuite would spend the supervisory period.

"Parolees have a right to privacy just like any other citizens do," he said. "The way that we picked him up is typical of the way we usually pick up an inmate and we usually don't try to make a show out of it."

Sessa added, "We're going to do everything we can to help him during this 10 day period to give him a better foundation so he lives a more constructive life when he becomes a free citizen."

Before Tuite was prosecuted in connection with Stephanie's death, her older brother, Michael, and two of his friends, Aaron Houser and Joshua Treadway, were accused of committing the murder, and police extracted confessions from two of them.

The admissions were later ruled to have been coerced by Escondido police and an assisting Oceanside officer under harsh interrogation tactics, and the case against the boys was dismissed. During Tuite's retrial this year, Michael Crowe, Treadway and Houser testified that they had no involvement in the girl's violent death.

Tuite had been in the area of the Crowe residence the night the seventh-grader was killed, agitated and looking for woman named Tracy, according to prosecutors, who contended that the then-28-year-old transient wandered into the Crowe home and attacked the girl. Investigators, however, found no physical evidence directly linking him to the crime scene.

Analysts later found the victim's blood on two shirts that Tuite had been wearing on the day of the murder. Jurors who voted to acquit Tuite said they believed a defense theory of "contamination," in which blood from the crime scene somehow wound up transferred onto Tuite's clothing.

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