Central figure in Lords of Bakersfield murders, freed after 38 years, files claim against county

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Los Angeles attorney for a central figure in the infamous sex-and-murder cases from the 1980s collectively known as the Lords of Bakersfield, has filed a claim against Kern County.

Attorney Samuel Dorulian filed the claim — a legally required precursor to a lawsuit — on behalf of Robert Mistriel, 55, who was released from prison in 2019 after serving 38 years for the murder of Kern County’s personnel director, Ed Buck, with whom he had an alleged sexual relationship.

Mistriel and another man were convicted in a Riverside courtroom of murdering Buck in 1983.

“At my last parole hearing in 2019,” Mistriel told KGET earlier this year, “the parole commissioner finally acknowledged that I was in fact a victim of childhood trafficking and under those circumstances kind of understood what I did, though he didn’t condone it.”

In the claim, Mistriel claims his county probation officer failed to protect him after he told her about the alleged abuse by Buck and others.

Kern County Probation Officer Sally Rockholt, now retired, testified in 1983 that Mistriel — then a 17-year-old minor — had in fact in informed her of the alleged abuse by the county executive and others.

The county has rejected Mistriel’s claim, according to Dorulian. He said he can file an actual lawsuit against the county six months from the date of the claim, Sept. 30, and intends to do so.

“This a long time coming for him to get some form of justice,” Dorulian said of Mistriel. “He’s not going to get the kind of justice he wants, to put these people away, but this is the second best.

KGET will have more on the salacious case, and the claim against Kern County, on Friday.

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