Activists call for robbery suspect's bond to be raised after allegedly paralyzing Bellaire woman

Erica Simon Image
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Fears intensify over 17-year-old's lowered bond after woman paralyzed
Community activists say a judge made it a bit easier for Joseph Harrell to get out of jail in a body-slam robbery case. And they fear he's capable of committing more crimes.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For weeks, ABC13 has shown the awful video of a Vietnamese woman in Bellaire being robbed, body-slammed, and ultimately paralyzed. The 17-year-old suspect just had his bond lowered from $200,000 to $100,000, and now community activists want answers.

"What happens when he goes out and commits another crime, and we're talking about it again? We told you so. He's out again!" Hai Bui, with We The People organization, said.

He Bui is talking about 17-year-old Joseph Harrell. Despite the attack being caught on video, where Nhung Troung is seen being body-slammed for the cash she withdrew from the bank, Harrell's aggravated robbery bond was reduced.

READ MORE: Woman followed, robbed in Chinatown after making large cash withdrawal from miles away: HPD

"We're asking the judge to put the bond back at $200,000," Bui continued.

Troung's broken rib and fractured spine resulted in her being paralyzed from the waist down. Her husband recently passed away, and as a single mother of three, Eyewitness News was told she's her family's only source of income.

In an interview translated by her daughter, Ban, she told ABC13, "I'm happy that I can live for my family again, but it's pretty inconvenient that I can't walk."

Many people feel if Harrell can do what he's accused of doing to Troung, he can do it to someone else. According to activists, that knowledge has Houstonians uneasy.

"We're concerned. We're concerned for her family. We're concerned for my family and your family," Augie Pineda said.

People have stepped up to help Troung in her time of need. Someone has been cooking for her family while she's unable to. Others have donated to a GoFundMe, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a jailhouse call, Harrell is heard saying, "The (expletive) already up $200,300 off GoFundMe. (Expletive) better run on with her life."

READ MORE: More jailhouse calls reveal 19-year-old accused of Chinatown robbery not understanding her charge

"No sympathy. No empathy whatsoever. Thus, he should be locked up," Bui said.

Eyewitness News called the 183rd District Court and tried to get a comment from Judge Kristin Guiney, who reduced Harrell's bond.

ABC13 was told Guiney had already left for the day but to try again on another day. It's not typical for a judge to comment on cases, but Eyewitness News will let you know if Guiney responds.

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WATCH: 'I'm really scared that they're coming after us': Woman paralyzed after mugging speaks to ABC13

"I'm feeling really scared that they are coming after us because of what happened. I need everyone's help to get them the punishment they deserve," Truong said.

RELATED: Woman and 17-year-old arrested in Chinatown robbery that left woman with fractured spine, HPD says