California man convicted of killing his mother is captured in Mexico after ditching halfway house

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man convicted of killing his mother as a teenager was captured in Mexico a week after he walked away from a halfway house, violating the conditions of his probation, authorities said.

Ike Nicholas Souzer, 20, was arrested Wednesday in the coastal city of Rosarito by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican officials, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. He was returned to California.

During the weeklong manhunt, the district attorney's office described Souzer as dangerous and violent.

Souzer had already served his sentence for stabbing his mother to death in 2017, when he was 13. He was subsequently convicted on a vandalism charge and served a short sentence, then released from custody March 20, prosecutors said.

The judge in that case also sentenced Souzer to two years of probation.

This was the second time Souzer disappeared from a halfway house. In 2022, he was let out of jail and moved to a halfway house in Santa Ana where he removed his electronic monitor and left. He was later captured by police.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Souzer deserved harsher sentences and blamed judges who have handled his cases.

“My prosecutors have spent years and years trying to do everything they can to keep this violent criminal behind bars, and at every turn, the very judges who are elected to protect public safety have done little to do so and instead have given him break after break after break,” Spitzer said in a statement.

Souzer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his mother. His defense attorney argued that the killing was in self-defense and said the teen had experienced years of abuse, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Souzer has also been charged with three attacks on correctional officers, possessing a shank in jail, and most recently, drawing graffiti on a freeway underpass, prosecutors said.

He also escaped a juvenile detention facility in 2019.