HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – The Texas constitution allows judges to deny bond to defendants charged with capital murder. It’s the most serious crime with punishment that includes life behind bars or the death penalty.
Still, some Harris County Judges grant bond to capital murder defendants.
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“Public safety is the number one concern,” said defense attorney Emily Detoto. “If the individual has a criminal history, that’s taken into account. Typically speaking, people accused of capital murder don’t jump into the world of crime and commit a capital murder.”
“I dare you to find how many defendants charged with capital murder, prior to 2018, actually got out on bond,” said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers. “It was unthinkable at the time.”
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But prior to last year, more than 100 capital murder defendants in Harris County were out on bond.
“That number has been dramatically reduced because we keep calling attention to it,” Kahan said. “So you’re not seeing as many defendants getting out on a capital murder bond.”
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In the last couple of years, at least half a dozen capital murder defendants free on bond got charged with an additional murder or capital murder. They include 20-year-old Daniel Medrano.
Last fall, he was charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Hordan Capuchino. He was free from jail on a $400,000 bond.
Last week, Medrano received his second capital murder charge.
Police say he took part in the shooting death of 43-year-old Joe Villarreal last month in the 7500 block of Long Point.
Last week, 41-year-old Andrew Williams was convicted of capital murder in the death of Martha Medina.
He was out on bond for capital murder when he ran over and killed the 71-year-old grandmother.
“The way in which we lost her was unfathonable,” said Martha’s son Adrian Medina. “We still can’t understand to this day why.”
“It is happening, and it’s been happening a lot more here in the last few years than we’ve ever seen in 30 years,” said Kahan.
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