Video of Abilene man's murder raising questions about bond system
ABILENE, Texas —
The video of an Abilene man's shooting death is raising questions.
Two murders occurred in Abilene less than 24 hours apart, but the suspects' bonds were significantly different.
“They wanted him dead. They really shot him a number of times,” criminal defense attorney Randy Wilson said as he sat down and watched the video of John and Michael Miller shooting and killing Aaron Howard.
Wilson told KTXS News what a jury will have to consider for the case.
“If he [Howard] was aggressive toward them and made moves to come toward them with a baseball bat, then they would have the right to defend themselves, do whatever it took," Wilson said.
John and Michael Miller are both charged with first-degree murder.
“A murder is a crime of passion or anger, always,” said Wilson.
Both of the Millers' bonds were set at $25,000 and they have since been released from jail.
Less than 24 hours earlier on August 31, prominent Abilene business owner Lin Rushing was found dead in her home.
Gary Shane Clinton, Rushing's former son-in-law, has been charged with her murder, but he is still in jail and being held on a $400,000 bond.
The difference between the Millers' and Clinton's bonds is $375,000.
With that being said, why are the Millers' and Clinton's bonds so different when they are all charged with first-degree murder?
Wilson told KTXS News that multiple factors can play a part in how a murder suspect's bond is set.
"If the person has a long criminal history, that would be a problem, but if he doesn’t have any, that should come into play, but many times, it doesn’t,” said Wilson. “Another thing, the crime itself that the person is charged with.”
KTXS News spoke with Taylor County Justice of the Peace Frank Cleveland, who set the Millers' bond at $25,000.
Cleveland said that he considered the Millers' flight risk, their future danger to the public if they were released on bond and their ability to post bond.
KTXS News took a closer look at the bond amounts of suspects who have been charged with first-degree murder within the last year in Abilene:
Victim: Arthur Cantu
1F- MURDER: George Almanza: $250,000
Victim: Chance Bonni
1F- MURDER: Chassidy Pimpton, 21
Xavier Applin, 17
Johnathan Williams, 17
Bond amount for all three adults: $150,000
Victim: Delbert Pimpton
1F- MURDER: Roy Lee Jackson: $125,000 Surety Bond
Victim: Lin Rushing
Charged with first-degree murder: Gary Shane Clinton
1F- MURDER: $400,000
Victim: Aaron Howard
1F- MURDER: John Miller $25,000 Surety Bond
1F- MURDER: Michel Miller $25,000 Surety Bond