BAD BONDS: A look at why repeat offenders aren't kept behind bars

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Kaitlin McCulley investigates why repeat offenders aren't kept behind bars. (KTRK)

When U.S. Marine Corps and Army veteran Guillermo Reveiz returned to the U.S., he found himself in a war zone at a place he never expected: a grocery store parking lot in Channelview.

The man charged with robbing him was a familiar face in Harris County criminal courts.

"His finger was right there on that trigger," Reveiz said. "And he told me 'do not move because I will kill you.'"

According to police, the man holding the gun was Alejandro Guzman. He was 18 years old at the time.

"Sometimes I still have flashbacks from this situation," Reveiz said. "I cannot sleep at night, too."

Eyewitness News shared Reveiz's story with Congressman Ted Poe, a former prosecutor and judge.

"To me, the system broke down," Poe said.

RELATED: Why repeat offenders fall through the bond cracks

Guzman's life of crime was just beginning, according to court records. Guzman was charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in December 2014. While out on bond for this alleged offense, he was charged with two other armed robberies.
A judge granted bond yet again and is now charged with capital murder in Oklahoma.

"The people who suffer are the victims of the crimes," Poe said. "And now you have a homicide where he's charged, allegations of course, but he is charged with that. None of that would have occurred if he'd have stayed in jail."

One part of Texas law allows repeat offenders to bond out of jail. Some judges interpret another part of the same section to give them authority to keep suspects they feel are a danger to the community behind bars pending trial:





PART TWO: WHY DID THE JUDGE MAKE HIS DECISION? HOW ARE LAWMAKERS WORKING TO CLEAR UP THE LAW?

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Former judge Ryan Patrick defends his decision, Kaitlin McCulley has more details.



Former judge Ryan Patrick declined our repeat requests for on-camera interviews.

Over the phone, he defended his judgement, saying, "I don't remember the details enough, but based on public filings, it doesn't look like the prosecution asked for special conditions on the bond," Patrick said. "$75,000 is a high bond, higher than usual."

Assistant District Attorney Nathan Moss said he tried to keep Guzman behind bars.

"He is dangerous, I'll tell you that," Moss said.

Guzman made bond, cut his ankle monitor off and is finally being held in an Oklahoma jail on a capital murder charge.

One part of Texas law seems to support Patrick's decision to grant Guzman bond, while other judges would have used another part of the law to keep him behind bars.

That wrinkle is what Senator John Whittmire wants to clear up. He is working on a bond reform package. It would reinforce a judge's ability to keep those they feel are a danger to the community behind bars until their trial.

Iraq war veteran Guillermo Reveiz, one of Guzman's alleged victims, supports a change in Texas law.

"They need to put the welfare of Texas, the community, above anything else," Reveiz said.

Reveiz feels the judicial system failed him and that it will continue failing others if something does not change - soon.

Eyewitness News reached out to Guzman's current attorney for a statement. He did not respond.
Related Topics:
newsmurdercourtcourt casebondsHouston
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