Son still pushing for bond reform 1 year after 80-year-old mom was stabbed to death at Walgreens

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been almost a year since 80-year-old Rosalie Cook was pushed down in the parking lot of a Walgreens in southwest Houston and stabbed to death.

The mother of three and grandmother of six was just a couple of minutes away from home after buying a greeting card. As she walked to her car at the intersection of Gessner and South Braeswood, Houston Police said 38-year-old Randy Lewis approached her and stabbed her.

Cook died at the hospital and Lewis was shot by police and then died on the scene.

READ ORIGINAL STORY: Elderly woman stabbed to death in Walgreens parking lot after just leaving store

"My mom was 80 years old," said Rosalie's son, Chuck Cook. "She was disabled. She shuffled with a cane. She was the prototypical grandmother, reading glasses down on her nose, knitting needles by the side of her rocking chair."

Lewis had been arrested 67 times and was out on two personal recognizance bonds at the time of the murder.

"If Randy Lewis was still in the system today, I have no confidence that justice would be served," Chuck said.

READ MORE: Bond waived for suspect days before killing 80-year-old at Houston Walgreens

The grieving son said he takes comfort in knowing that Lewis cannot get out of jail on another bond and hurt someone else. However, other victims and their families are stuck in the court system that has been essentially shut down since the beginning of the pandemic.

ABC13 Investigates found the backlog of cases in felony court has grown 66% since March 2020. Even since trials have resumed, the backlog grew 4% in March. Misdemeanor cases are also not moving at the same pace as pre-pandemic times.

READ MORE: Victims wait as courts face unprecedented COVID-19 delays
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A 13 Investigates analysis found more than 50,000 felony cases are waiting for trial in Harris County - a backlog that's grown by more than 15,000 cases during the pandemic.



"In the misdemeanor world in the last three weeks, there have been 10 trials," said Nathan Beedle, the misdemeanor trial bureau chief for the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "Trials are taking place, but as a guideline, that would be probably about 20% or 30% pre-COVID."

Beedle said he gets reports of defendants who are out on misdemeanor bonds being charged with felonies or defendants on felony bonds being charged with misdemeanors on a daily basis.

That's what keeps Chuck fighting for change. He said he tells his mother's story to anyone who will listen and hopes to testify before the Texas State Senate in Austin on bond reform.

"That's the burden I have today," he said. "The fact is that I didn't ask for it. This happened and I feel a responsibility to do what I can to right that."

On April 27, the Harris County Commissioner's Court passed a resolution to honor the life of his mother and vowed to do better.

Chuck is hoping for a policy change to impose repercussions on criminals and something to hold judges accountable.

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