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Slaying Suspect Eluded Jail Term

The Mission Viejo woman accused of stabbing a teen to death and wounding his father hadn't been charged in DUI cases -- until now.

July 10, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

Orange County prosecutors had two opportunities to put a Mission Viejo accountant -- now accused of stabbing her boyfriend and killing his 13-year-old son -- behind bars after she was arrested for drunk driving this spring, court records show.

Tamara Bohler, who faces charges of murder and attempted murder in the Friday attack, was convicted of drunk driving in 2001 and could have been locked up for violating her probation after DUI arrests in March and April. But prosecutors took no action in either case to revoke her probation or charge her with any crime in the months after the arrests.

Prosecutors did not return phone calls seeking an explanation. But on Wednesday, the Orange County district attorney's office charged her with drunk driving and several other counts related to those DUI arrests.

Court and probation officials said the delayed filing was highly unusual. "I can't say it's never happened," said Alan Slater, chief executive officer of Orange County Superior Court. "But nothing comes to mind."

Bohler, 44, was charged Tuesday with murder, attempted murder and other counts for the knife attacks on Jean Marc Weber, 45, and his son Alex, 13. Weber is recovering from wounds to the face, throat and chest. Alex died at the scene of stab wounds.

A judge agreed to postpone her arraignment in a brief hearing Tuesday. But he revoked her probation and ordered her held without bail.

Bohler was first arrested in Orange County for drunk driving on Aug. 21, 2000. She was observed driving erratically in Mission Viejo at 12:30 a.m., according to sheriff's reports. She was convicted in January 2001, after pleading guilty to one count of drunk driving.

At the time, Superior Court Judge Pamela Iles imposed a five-year conditional sentence, a type of informal probation. Under the terms, Bohler was ordered to serve 45 days in jail, complete an 18-month alcohol-recovery program and pay fines. She did all three, according to court records.

Bohler also was ordered not to drive with a measurable amount of alcohol and to submit to a chemical test at the request of any peace officer.

Bohler was again arrested on suspicion of drunk driving March 21 this year. A witness reported seeing her driving erratically, then driving into a dirt hillside, near Portola Plaza in Mission Viejo, according to sheriff's reports. The witness, who also said Bohler tried to leave the scene, called 911. Deputies found her gold Buick off the road and detected alcohol on her breath. She failed a field sobriety test and was taken into custody.

Then Bohler was released on a $15,000 bond, which was returned to her after 15 days elapsed without charges filed, court documents show.

On April 26, she was arrested again in Mission Viejo after a deputy spotted her speeding at 11:10 p.m. He gave her a field sobriety test after detecting alcohol on her breath.

Again she was arrested and released on bond. Again the bond was returned when no charges were filed.

After each of these arrests, the Sheriff's Department forwarded reports to the district attorney's office, said sheriff spokesman Jim Amormino. "All the paperwork is submitted to them. It's up to them to decide whether to file the case," he said.

Mack A. Jenkins, director of adult services at the county Probation Department, said his staff relies on the district attorney to identify defendants who may have violated the terms of an informal probation, because a probation officer is not assigned to those cases, and "nobody knows what's going on until and unless the person gets in trouble again."

At least one agency did act after the DUI arrests: The state Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Bohler's driving license in May.

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