HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Family and friends of a woman reportedly killed by a suspect who was out of jail on bond marched for justice on Houston's east end today, calling for bond reform in Harris County.
The demands of the crowd echoed feelings from across the city. Those at the march said the death of 71-year-old Martha Medina would not have happened if a Harris County judge had not released a suspect on bond.
Medina was killed outside a McDonald's at the 400 block of Uvalde Road in east Harris County on Sept. 23.
Court records show the 40-year-old suspect, Andrew Williams, was out on bond in connection with a previous capital murder charge from 2019, and also out on bond for an aggravated assault that same year.
Williams is accused of stealing Medina's purse, hitting her with his car and taking off. Medina was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Marchers met at Guadalupe Square Wednesday and marched to the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
Medina's family said from the beginning that violent suspects should not receive low bond amounts.
The family and FIEL Houston are asking to overhaul the bail reform movement that marchers say is letting dangerous criminals back on the street by setting low bond amounts. FIEL is a Houston-based, immigrant-led civil rights organization.
"We are not invisible. We are not going anywhere. We are tired of these things happening in our streets," Medina's daughter Lordes said. "It's not possible that while I was trying to put this march together, I found out about another three cases within my church members. That's less than 10 miles from where I live."
The father of David Castro, a teen killed in a road rage shooting by an accused suspect who was also out on bond, also voiced his concerns at the march.
"Because we have lawmakers who are not making laws that can distinguish between people who are writing hot checks and people who are killing people," Paul Castro said. "The person who killed my son was guilty of two armed robberies and served time. He was on the streets for not even nine months, took a gun again, and acted in anger."
Organizers say that bail reform was intended to keep low income, minor offenders out of jail, but the movement has turned into what they call a "revolving door for violent offenders," something marchers say must stop.
"I wish we didn't have to meet under these circumstances, but now that we are, we must find justice in these bad situations so that changes can come," Ceasar Espinoza with FIEL said. "So that no other family has to suffer the insurmountable pain that these families have suffered."