Mom grieves for son's 2019 murder after accused killer not on trial: 'I can't get peace'

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Mom grieves for son's 2019 murder after accused killer not on trial: 'I can't get peace'
"Every time we go to trial, I get told it is reset," the mother told ABC13 after grieving for her son who was murdered in 2019. The mom has already attended more than 20 of her son's alleged killer's court appearances.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A family has been anxiously waiting for nearly five years for their son's accused killer to go to trial.

Crystal Johnson has endured years of disappointment and setbacks. She wants the case to go to trial so she can get closure and start to heal.

Her 18-year-old son, Ondreus Patterson, was murdered outside his home in October 2019.

RELATED: Bond denied for suspect accused of murder while out on bond for another murder

"Some people came to the house and attempted to rob him, and he ran into the garage, and they shot him multiple times in his back," Johnson said.

Treveon Tatum was charged with his murder.

Johnson has felt failed by the court system many times. While her son's accused killer was on the streets out on bond, Tatum was charged with another murder in 2022.

"The justice system is set up for the defense, not the victim," Johnson said.

Court records show Tatum has had 30 court appearances set, but many never happened. The defense reset a majority because of attorney changes, and prosecutors requested others because of scheduling conflicts.

Johnson has not missed one court appearance. But each time, she is let down.

"Every time we go to trial, I get told it is reset," Johnson said, "Two to three weeks before trial, I am in a mental breakdown state. It's hard for me to do anything. I miss tons of work. It needs to go to trial so I can start the healing process. I can't get peace."

According to online from Harris County District Courts records, there were 29,733 active criminal cases in May. Of the cases, 23% were in the court system for over 361 days. Out of Judge Josh Hill's courtroom, where this case sits, that number spikes up to 37% of cases lingering for more than 361 days.

As a result, families are left years awaiting justice, and in this case, nearly five years.

"Change what they're doing. Put the victim first. We are the ones suffering. The family's lives are changed forever," Johnson said.

SEE ALSO: Man out on bond for murder charged with murder again, records say

Tatum has remained behind bars since 2022, after his second murder charge. The trial is set for July 11. ABC13 reached out to the District Attorney's Office about whether the case will be reset yet again, and a spokesperson said they are ready.

The family has set up a GoFundMe.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, X and Instagram.