AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s homicide rate is the highest it has been in a decade, and Lt. Jeff Greenwalt wants to know why.
“With COVID, right now there’s an effort to try to keep people out of jail as much as possible,” said Greenwalt.
He wonders if that is leading to offenders being released on low bonds and reoffending.
“I’m not talking about drugs; I’m not talking about misdemeanors,” said Greenwalt. “I’m talking violent people who are committing felonies over and over getting out of jail. And committing more felonies.”
In a statement to KXAN, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office said:
“With the pandemic, we must also look at our available resources, and what makes sense in terms of judicial economy, but we would not recommend to the court that a violent or dangerous offender be released into the community simply because there may be a risk of COVID exposure in the jail.”
“The repeat, violent offenders getting out of jail is something that we have to look into,” said Greenwalt as he continues to look for clues. “We’re seeing a lot of the same names over and over. People kill people with monitors on their ankle. We are seeing people who we know who they are, because we’ve already put them in jail.”
KXAN found at least two recent murder cases with the suspect wearing an ankle monitor while out of jail for a previous crime.
On June 23, 2020, police say Marquis Davis was one of several suspects who robbed and killed a neighborhood ice cream vendor in Austin. Police say Davis was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the murder. He had previously been released from jail after a road rage shooting in 2019.
Christopher Henry, who bonded out of Travis County Jail in September 2019, is accused of killing 68-year-old Rose Davis in Temple in June 2020. He too was released from jail with an ankle monitor, charged with robbery at gunpoint.