Editorial: What about Malik Mallett?

This week, the office of Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green circulated a media advisory regarding the April 8-14 observance of “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.” In the past, our D.A. has promoted the importance of “serving the victims, building trust and restoring hope.” She has encouraged families with a common sense of loss to come together and address the pain and sorrow they carry the rest of their lives.

The day before this statement went out, almost 200 Ridgecrest residents — including some of our top city officials — joined the family of Malik Mallett in asking for justice in his untried murder.

Here’s what we know: on July 30, 2017, 21-year-old Mallett died after apparently succumbing to knife wounds. So far, that’s about all we can find on the record.

According to aggregate eyewitness accounts, Mallett was at a party with friends when a fight broke out. He tried to break up the tussle, and was stabbed in the process. The alleged perpetrator apparently wounded two others as well. That young man has since left the area without any known consequence.

The incident happened in the unincorporated areas of our valley, therefore falling under the purview of Kern County Sheriff’s Office for investigation and the D.A. for prosecution.

Nearly eight months later, no suspects have been identified. No charges have been made. The case has not been tried. The grieving family — who publicly decried would-be retaliators after Malik’s death — have no answers and no closure for the death of their son.

As we prepare to reflect on victims of crime, as well as their families, is this not an appropriate time to ask for an accounting of Malik’s case?

— Rebecca Neipp, managing editor

Story First Published: 2018-03-23