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Freed by Court, Tulare County Felon Charged With Two Murders

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Barry Dantzler, who has a long history of violent criminal acts, has been charged in the deaths of two Tulare County women in separate incidents on May 26 and May 29, Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced Tuesday.

Dantzler, 30, is charged with murder in the deaths of  Heather Sloan, 37, and Heather Maciel, 44.

If convicted, he faces either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, Ward said.

Mug shot of Barry Dantzler who is charged with murders in Tulare County (California) on May 26 and May 29, 2020uhur

— Barry Dantzler

With Visalia police in hot pursuit of Dantzler after Sloan’s killing on May 26, Dantzler drove his car into a pole in Tulare three days later and hit Maciel, who was riding a bike, ABC30 reported. The collision killed Maciel.

Prosecutor Opposed Dantzler’s Release

After being in custody since August 2019, Dantzler pleaded no contest to the felony evading and hit and run causing injury charges on Feb. 25, 2020. At the plea, Dantzler requested a Cruz Waiver over the objection of the prosecutor.

“This office has vehemently opposed early release of violent criminals by our courts. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario has occurred and left two families broken and a community in shock. This office will not relent in opposing early release and seeking justice for victims.” — Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward

The court granted the waiver, which allows the defendant to leave custody until the time of sentencing on the condition that the court can change the indicated sentence if the defendant fails to appear. In this case, Dantzler faced 40 months in prison. Dantzler never contacted his parole officer or the Tulare County Probation Department after leaving the court.

“My heart breaks for the victims, their families, and their friends in this tragic series of events,” Ward said. “This office has vehemently opposed early release of violent criminals by our courts. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario has occurred and left two families broken and a community in shock. This office will not relent in opposing early release and seeking justice for victims.”

Dantzler’s Criminal History

Dantzler has prior convictions for criminal threats (2011) and three attempted robberies (2013), which also included being a felon in possession of a firearm. Dantzler was sentenced to nine years in state prison for both cases and released on parole in 2018.

Shortly after his release, Dantzler committed another felony and failed to appear at his June 2019 sentencing. In August of that year, Dantzler was charged with felony evading and hit and run causing injury.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email