DALLAS — A man facing a murder charge and accused of multiple shootings, including the road rage shooting of a 3-year-old girl and firing at Dallas police officers, was expected to be released from jail after his attorney posted his bond Monday, officials said.
But developments in the case on Tuesday delayed his release, including the decision by the judge to raise his bond amount on the murder charge.
Julio Guerrero had his bond lowered from $2 million to $500,000 last week, meaning he needed $50,000 to post bond and be released from custody.
His attorney, Tom Cox, posted bond for Guerrero on Monday, allowing his release from jail. But as he was expected to be released Tuesday, word came down that Judge Chika Anyiam decided to raise his bond to $600,000, making it unclear when, or if, Guerrero would post bond again.
Anyiam's decision to raise Guerrero's bond came after widespread criticism from police officials, including Chief Eddie Garcia, and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot also said in a statement that his office has "vigorously opposed the reduction of bond for Mr. Guerrero every step of the way, and any assertions to the contrary are patently false."
Guerrero was arrested last June in the killing of Franscisco Villanueva . Police said Guerrero fatally shot Villanueva for bumping into him at a club.
Days later, police said Guerrero shot a 3-year-old girl in the head during a road rage incident in Dallas.
Guerrero was taken into custody after a nine-hour standoff at a home in southern Dallas, where police said Guerrero fired shots at police officers.
The family of Villanueva say they are scared after learning of Guerrero's release. They asked WFAA conceal their faces out of fear.
“I’m speechless. I’m mad. How? Why? Why did they let it happen?”
“He didn’t think twice about killing my husband, and he’s not going to think twice to do something else.”
Jail records show on Monday, March 14, his defense attorney Tom Cox, who also owns a bond company, paid more than $50,000 to get Guerrero out of jail.
“This is a slap in the face to the victims of this individual, it’s a slap in the face to the victims’ families, it’s a slap in the face to the men and women who wear this uniform to try and keep this city safe, and it’s an absolute slap in the face to every resident in the City of Dallas that are fearful of violent crime in this city,” said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
WFAA has also learned, after reviewing state campaign finance records, Judge Anyiam has received $5,000 in campaign contributions since 2015 from Cox.
“She should not be in the place where she is right now, and absolutely needs to be removed.”
WFAA repeatedly reached out to the Anyiam to ask her if the contributions influenced her decision, but she has not responded before this report. Cox has also not responded for comment.
Chief Garcia said the release of violent habitual offenders on bond has become a problem for law enforcement.
“This is precisely why I testified in front of the United States Senate with regards to the dangerous and irresponsible decisions that elected judges are making that do not make our community safe,” said Garcia.
It is not illegal in Texas for judges to take money from defense attorneys. But, WFAA has spoken to several judges who say it raises an ethical question.
If Guerrero is released on bond, he'll have to wear a GPS ankle monitor. Police and the victim's family aren't confident that will stop him from fleeing.
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