Sister of exonerated inmate accused of threatening to kill woman

October 28, 2011 1:15:05 PM PDT
A Houston woman is accused of threatening to kill another woman who reported an indecent exposure complaint against the suspect's brother.

According to court documents, the female victim in this case was the victim in an indecent exposure case back in May that involved the brother of Joann Sonnier Bingham.

In a twist to this story, it turns out that Bingham's brother is Ernest Sonnier -- a man exonerated in 2009 after 23 years behind bars for a rape that DNA evidence proved he didn't commit.

Court documents state Bingham entered the northeast Houston business where the female victim worked on September 2 and threatened to kill and assault the woman for reporting her brother's alleged crime back in May. The victim was able to record cell phone video of the incident and investigators say the video showed the victim asking Bingham to leave the store several times and showed Bingham using profanity to threaten the victim.

The female victim picked Bingham out of a photo lineup, court documents show.

Back in September, we spoke to the victim in the indecent exposure case. She told us she was afraid for her safety after came into the convenience store where she worked, taunted her and then exposed himself.

"I was scared because I don't want to see stuff like that," the victim told Eyewitness News.

Community activist Quanell X told us at the time that Sonnier is innocent.

"He said he never intended to disrespect the lady, to frighten the lady, to accost the lady; he said he was flirting with her," Quanell X told Eyewitness News.

Bingham, 46, faces a felony charge of retaliation. She has a previous conviction for possession of a controlled substance in 2001.

Bond has been set at $50,000.

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