CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Rocky Pastorino misses a lot of things about his father, Rocky Sr., including his great big smile.
"His smile lit up a room too. He had a big presence," he told us.
64-year old Rocky Sr. was murdered two years ago inside his apartment in Northern California. The suspect, Jonathan Autry, was a prison escapee from Nevada who was supposed to be in custody when the crime occurred.
For Rocky Jr., that just makes his father's death harder to come to terms with.
"It's frustration, it's hurt, its guilt," he said.
Autry walked away from a prison camp in Carson City early on a Sunday morning. He made his way to California in a hurry. The victim, Pastorino, was found dead in his Sacramento apartment two days later. Officials say he'd been beaten to death.
No one knows if the suspect had any connection to the victim.
"I'm not sure if there was a connection," his son told us. "As far as I know it was a random act."
The Nevada Department of Corrections declined to go on camera for this story but they did confirm that Autry was considered a non-violent offender who was serving time in a minimum security work camp for counterfeit and fraud charges.
They say he was able to walk away because there is no secured perimeter where he was being housed.
Rocky Jr. turned to News 4 because he wants the public to know what happened. He says he considered filing a lawsuit but couldn't find a lawyer who was willing to take the case .
"Nobody wants to help," he said. "As far as I know it's either not worth it to them or there's nothing they can do."
But Reno attorney Richard Salvatore with Midtown Law says minimum security or not, it was the Department of Corrections' responsibility to keep Autry in custody until his sentence had expired, which they failed to do. Because of that, Salvatore says NDOC could very well be liable for Pastorino's death.
"I still believe they have a duty to control their inmates and keep them in the facility regardless of whether its a camp or not," he said.
After our interview Salvatore took the first steps in filing a lawsuit on behalf of the family in an effort to hold the Nevada Department of Corrections accountable for what happened.
That accountability is all that Rocky Jr. is asking for.
"It was never about the money," he said. "I don't need a hand-out. I just need a hand-up for awareness."
We did ask NDOC if they would like to say anything to the victim's family. They sent us a statement, saying "The Nevada Department of Corrections must balance the safety of the community with preparing offenders for eventual release," They point out they do follow strict protocols when screening offenders to progress to minimum security facilities.
As for the suspect, Jonathan Autry, he is charged with the murder of Rocky Pastorino Sr. in Sacramento County. His trial is set for May 8th.