Slapping petitioner arrested for murder


Brooke Purves and Brooke Purves

The petitioner who slapped an American River College student in March was arrested on charges of murder last month in the May 18 shooting death of 28-year-old Anthony Johnson.

Pavel Postelnyak, 23, was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail three days after the shooting and held without bail, according to the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.

The Current published a story on March 26 in which Postelnyak’s mother spoke about her son’s alleged mental illness, saying that as a teen, he was attacked and beaten with a baseball bat.

Postelnyak’s mother, Larisa Postelnyak, said she believed Postelnyak’s behavior had changed after the attack and indicated that he had at one point been involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility, although he was given no diagnosis.

Larisa said that she had asked for help for her son, but because he was a legal adult, and had refused further treatment, he would not be eligible to receive professional intervention.

“I’m just crying and praying,” Larisa said in an earlier interview.

Although no motive was known at the time of the arrest, the crime is a quiet echo of the recent shooting spree in Isla Vista, California, in which Elliot Rodger, who was undergoing treatment for mental illness, killed six and injured 13 people May 23.

Police were asked to check on Rodger in April after his mother discovered his disturbing YouTube videos, news sources say, but police found nothing about his demeanor that required an involuntary hold.

Rodger’s parents and Postelnyak’s mother, through all of their efforts, were unable to prevent their sons’s criminal behaviors.

The May 18 crime was committed near the intersection of Auburn Boulevard and Garfield Avenue in the Foothill Farms area of unincorporated Sacramento County.