Family questions judge who gave suspected murderer bond

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Family questions judge who gave suspected murderer bond
EMBED <>More Videos

Suspect in man's murder was wearing ankle monitor.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a man killed at a convenience store last week is speaking out.

The family of 29-year-old Reginald Larry says his killer, who was out on bond for murder, should have never been issued a bond.

RELATED: Suspected murderer on the run tampered with ankle monitor, police say

Gerald Washington, 27, is now charged with two murders. He's also on the run after tampering with his GPS monitoring device, according to officials.

Larry's sister, Ebony Couttee, said her brother had a lot of love. She said he loved his girlfriend's two daughters and loved his horses and family.

"He was on his way to my grandmother's house. He went to the corner store to get a drink," Couttee said.

While at the store, police say Washington shot Larry.

Larry's family told ABC13 they don't believe the two were acquainted with one another.

"It's devastating to know that somebody can take the life of another human being," Couttee said.

Washington has a criminal history that dates back to 2018. Court records show Washington was granted deferred adjudication, which is similar to probation, for two counts of burglary to a building.

His conditions were amended several times after he allegedly violated them.

Then, in October 2018, he was charged with murder and two aggravated assaults.

Court records state in October 2017, he got into a car and shot three women, killing one of them.

One of the victims told ABC13 she was shot so many times that she played dead. She was in the hospital for a month and in rehabilitation for two months. She said she was shot between six or seven times.

Despite that, a judge later gave Washington a $200,000 bond, which he made, and was required to wear a GPS monitoring device.

While out on bond, police said he committed another murder this month. Then, according to officials, he tampered with his GPS ankle monitor and is currently a fugitive at-large.

When a GPS monitor is tampered with, the probation office is notified, and then they notify the judge. In this case, Judge Ramona Franklin was notified.

READ ALSO: 13 Investigates violent criminals skirting GPS monitoring system

For the past two days, ABC13 has reached out to Judge Franklin for a comment and more information about the GPS monitor.

On Tuesday, Judge Franklin's court coordinator said "I don't speak to the media," and declined any further comment.

Larry's sister said Washington should have never received a bond, and demanded answers.

"My brother would still be here today if this man was not in the public. If he was behind bars, my brother would still be here," Couttee said.

Since Washington tampered with his monitor, authorities aren't aware of his whereabouts.

"If you remove, destroy or tamper with your ankle monitor, it is not considered a criminal offense in the state of Texas," Crime Stoppers of Houston, Andy Kahan, said.

A bill to change the law didn't make it last session, but Kahan is hoping it gains traction this time.

"I like to take the negatives and turn them into positives. I can't go back and change what happened to so many people that were victimized by this particular offender, but perhaps again, he can be a catalyst for change and we can get this bill passed," Kahan said.

As the search for Washington continues, the victim's family is reminded of what was taken.

"We were robbed of the opportunity to tell him we loved him one last time," said Couttee.

Follow Marla Carter on Facebook and Twitter.