Houston crime victims’ attorney calls on state Democrats to support tough bail policies amid rising crime


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A Houston crime victims advocate on Friday renewed his calls for Democrats in Texas to vote against criminal bond reform legislation that some say has contributed to a rise in homicides in the largest city. ‘State.

Andy Kahan, director of victim services and advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston, documented the number of people killed by criminal suspects who were on multiple criminal bails at the time of the murders.

He said Democratic lawmakers in the State House voted against a proposed amendment to give judges the discretion not to grant bail to defendants charged with certain violent crimes.

“A Democrat from the state of Texas voted to support the change,” Kahan said.

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Fox News contacted the Texas Democratic Party.

Since 2018, 168 people have been killed by suspects with multiple criminal charges in Harris County, Texas, said Kahan, who tracks such cases. Since January 1, there have been 10, he said.

“I just watch multiple bonds,” Kahan told Fox News. “So if you were out on bail and then charged with murder, you weren’t on the list.”

As an example of failed bail reform policies, Kahan cited the case of Summer Chester and her accused killer, Jonathan Vera.

Vera, 20, is charged with killing the 23-year-old student during a hit-and-run in January when he allegedly ran a red light in Houston. At the time, he was on bail for a capital murder charge related to a shooting that killed a 55-year-old homeowner during a 2017 home invasion.

Jonathan Vera
(Houston Police Department)

His bail was set at $250,000 and he remained in custody for two years. A judge then lowered bail to $50,000, allowing Vera to go free.

“Summer Chester paid the ultimate price for this rash decision to lower bail for capital murder,” Kahan said.

He noted that more than 110 capital murder suspects in Harris County are currently out on bail. He said he also found dozens of cases where a suspect charged with murder had only one surety, which he did not include in his list.

Houston, the state’s largest city, has seen a dramatic increase in homicides since Jan. 1. As of Thursday, the city reported more than 103 murders, according to police data. He ended 2021 with 473 kills.

A short list of victims killed by offenders who were on multiple bails in Harris County, Texas.  Critics have called for stricter bail policies to prevent multiple misdemeanor suspects from violently re-offending.

A short list of victims killed by offenders who were on multiple bails in Harris County, Texas. Critics have called for stricter bail policies to prevent multiple misdemeanor suspects from violently re-offending.
(Houston Crime Stoppers)

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In February, Houston and county law enforcement officials lambasted judges for the number of criminal cases dismissed amid soaring crime in the region.

“We can’t let these people go without having their day in court. We’re seeing more and more crime,” Harris County District 4 Officer Mark Herman told reporters. “We are on the verge of a total meltdown here in Harris County with public safety if we don’t change direction.”


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