Killer exceeds life expectancy

Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

A Valley Springs man convicted of involuntary manslaughter is living in a state prison hospital more than a year after authorities believed his brain cancer would kill him.

His former attorney said he may soon return to county jail. James Alison Livezey, 43, received a three-year sentence one year ago this month for his role in the June 2011 death of Marvin Brown, 52, at a Valley Springs mobile home park.

Doctors did not expect Livezey to survive an inoperable brain tumor for more than a month. He greatly outlasted that expectation and remains in custody at a state prison hospital.

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved up to $28,105 in August 2012 to pay for Livezey's continuing care for up to one year at the state facility. His worsening condition prompted his transfer from the county jail to the California Medical Facility in Vacaville in July 2012.

Livezey's offense makes his custody a responsibility of the county as a result of the Assembly Bill 109 criminal justice realignment. Prior to the 2011 bill, a conviction for involuntary manslaughter and a three-year sentence would have meant an immediate entry into the state prison system.

According to court documents, a judge's order Feb. 5 modified the conditions of Livezey's sentence, allowing for his transfer between prison hospitals as necessary without the need to come back to the Calaveras County Superior Court for approval.

Livezey's trial attorney, Ken Foley, petitioned the court for Livezey's release to live out his final days with family.

However, authorities continue to consider Livezey violent and dangerous, citing examples such as a Feb. 29, 2012, incident in which a probation report stated Livezey began to accuse jail staff of withholding information from him, moving the jail with a diesel truck and lying to him. It stated that he banged his head on his cell door, threw a pitcher repeatedly and swung it at staffers. He also flooded his cell with water and urine, correctional officers discovered, when they entered to remove him to a safety cell.

Foley said he has been relieved by an appellate public defender but he received a petition from the state to have his former client returned to the county jail.

Livezey's mother, Katherine Livezey, of Valley Springs, attended court throughout her son's trial. She died a little more than a week before her son was moved from the San Andreas jail to Vacaville.

Livezey's son, Beau, remains in Valley Springs but said in a phone interview Friday he expects to leave in about a month for Alaska to take a job at a fish processing factory.

"He calls every once in a while and says hi," Beau Livezey said.

He said his sister and aunt often visit James Livezey, and photos on his Facebook account show a photo of Beau with his father and family members in September 2012.

Beau Livezey said he remains hopeful his father will be let out on terms of "compassionate release" before his death. He said he too has been surprised at his ability to outlive doctors' expectations.

The Union Democrat
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