Readers react to release of notorious juvenile now charged with murder

7:36 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 Atlanta News
Devlin Gates, 17, was arrested in September 2017 and charged in the shooting death of special effects technician Joseph Livolsi. He had a long record of property crimes in Atlanta.

The arrest of 17-year-old Delvin Gates on murder charges last month in DeKalb County appalled residents across town in West End because they thought he would be in prison for years.

“I was so pissed when I heard he was back out,” said resident John Pavlin. “Then this. I’m disgusted.”

Residents in West End and the Atlanta Police Department agree that Gates was a top juvenile culprit of burglaries, car break-ins and other mayhem in southwest Atlanta. That’s why they turned up for his juvenile court hearing to make sure the court knew as well.

But he only served a few months in detention. Now Gates is the prime suspect in the July slaying of 50-year-old special effects technician Joseph Livolsi, who was found shot to death in an apartment complex in DeKalb County.

Harold Joseph, 76 of Fayetteville, said he understands that the system needs to treat young offenders differently then adults, but giving a notorious offender a few scant months in detention makes little sense.

“My goodness, when do you cut it off? That was totally ridiculous,” he said.

Read more about the story that is confounding readers in this week’s AJC Watchdog column here.