Why was suspected killer released?

June 4, 2008 7:52:34 PM PDT
A Houston family tells Eyewitness News they have been living in fear ever since a suspected killer with gang ties was released from his jail cell. He was legally let go after a judge issued his bond.

That bond was issued in spite of Juan Gonzalez's violent criminal history and his alleged ties to a dangerous prison gang. Members of the victim's family are questioning the judge's decision and their faith in our legal system.

Less than three months after Houston police arrested Juan Gonzalez Jr., 28, in connection with the murder of Kevin Alfred, 16, the accused killer, who is allegedly tied to one of the most notorious prison gangs in Texas, is back on the streets of Houston.

"People in the neighborhood called and told me they've seen him," said Alfred's brother. "My cousin said he's seen him."

Though he does not want to be identified, this relative of the slain teenager is angry. The way he sees it, the system failed his brother.

"People get 20 years for a little marijuana joint, people here get murdered and they slap them on the hand and that is not right," he said.

What's more, Gonzalez, an alleged gang member of the Texas Syndicate, was already out on another $10,000 bond for a felony possession of a firearms charge when authorities charged Gonzalez with Alfred's murder. Prosecutors requested he be held without bond after his latest arrest on March 18th.

"We opposed it based on his danger to the community, a potential flight risk being that he's facing murder charges," said George Weissfisch with the Harris County D.A.'s Office.

But Judge J. Michael Wilkinson felt otherwise. According to court documents, on May 7th Gonzalez was issued a $75,000 bond and posted it that same day.

"We do our jobs and we do what we think is right," Weissfisch said. "And we hope the right outcome results, but we don't always have control over it."

Gonzalez's attorney tells Eyewitness News the judge issued the bond because the district attorney's office did not file a motion to have Gonzalez held without bond within seven days of the date of his arrest. Gonzalez is due back in court in two weeks.

Meantime, Houston police are still trying to track down Raul Roy Ramirez, Gonzalez's alleged accomplice. Homicide investigators have reason to believe he may have fled to California and working closely with police in Bakersfield to catch him. As for Gonzalez, Alfred's relatives are demanding justice.

"I just want to make sure he's put up somewhere, where nobody else will get hurt by him," said Alfred's relative.

We tried contacting Judge Wilkinson, but he could not be reached for comment. Gonzalez is due back in court June 17th.

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