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Tweets end Avary’s jail furlough program

“Pulp Fiction” screenwriter Roger Avary won’t be tweeting again any time soon, a Ventura County sheriff’s official said Monday.

Avary probably will serve the rest of his yearlong sentence for a fatal drunken driving accident in the county jail instead of a lower-security work furlough program, said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ross Bonfiglio.

He’s expected to be released next July.

Until last week, Avary had been permitted to leave the furlough program daily to work at a production office, where he sent out tweets about strip searches, lockdowns and talks with gangbangers, officials said.

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But after The Times published reports about the short messages, Avary was transferred on Thanksgiving to county jail. The tweets played a role in the decision, Bonfiglio said, but he said probation officials also had “security issues.”

“He really messed up,” Bonfiglio said. “He could have done nine months out of a year sentence, and not even in lock-up, for killing someone. Now he is going to do the remainder of that time in county jail.”

Avary, 44, pleaded guilty in August to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges stemming from a January 2008 accident that killed passenger Andreas Zini, 34, of Modena, Italy. Avary’s wife, Gretchen, was also seriously injured when Avary lost control of his Mercedes and slammed into a telephone pole on a rural Ojai road.

Prosecutor Michael Lief and defense attorney Mark Werksman said it was not unusual when Judge Edward Brodie agreed at Avary’s sentencing to screen him for the work furlough program. Inmates who have jobs and haven’t been convicted of violent offenses are generally eligible for the program if they face more than 30 days in jail, both attorneys said.

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Lief said he asked Brodie to send Avary to prison for six years and eight months. But the judge, citing Avary’s lack of criminal background and his community standing, gave him a year in county jail.

“The court gave him a break by sentencing him to 365 days in county jail and five years’ probation. Work furlough gave him an additional break,” said Lief, a senior deputy district attorney. “It’s interesting that Mr. Avary could not do what was required of him to stay out of trouble and stay out of county jail.”

Avary reported to Ventura County jail on Oct. 26 for processing and was released to appear at the work furlough program. He started his term the same day, said Lyle McDonald, manager of the program.

Inmates in the program live in military-style barracks housed at Camarillo Airport. They are allowed to leave daily for jobs, reporting back at night and on weekends, McDonald said. There is no Internet access, he said. Inmates eat communally and have access to a TV room, reading materials and a recreation area.

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Zini and his new bride were in Los Angeles for their honeymoon, Lief said. A mutual friend arranged for them to have dinner with Avary that night because Zini was a fan of “Pulp Fiction,” he said.

“They’d never met until that night,” Lief said.

Avary and writer-director Quentin Tarantino won an Academy Award in 1994 for “Pulp Fiction. Avary also co-wrote 2007’s fantasy hit, “Beowulf.”

catherine.saillant@latimes.com

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