KILLEEN, Texas (KCEN) – A record-breaking $4 billion bond was set Tuesday for a Killeen man who turned himself in last week to police.
Antonio Willis, 25, is in jail for the murder of Donte Samuels who was found dead in the yard of a Killeen home.
Newly elected Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown set the bond, the largest in Bell County history and possibly the United States.
According to law firm Nuttall & Coleman, the highest bond set in U.S. was $3 billion for New York real estate heir Robert Durst. Durst was charged and later acquitted in 2003 in the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black.
The bond is also higher than the $2.5 billion estimated for the TxDOT Waco District’s 96-mile expansion from Hillsboro to Salado.
Judge Brown told KCEN she set the bond so high to send a message about high bond amounts for struggling families.
“Three quarters of the people who are sitting in jail right now are sitting there because they can’t afford to get out, the system is broken therefore” Brown said. She said she was going to set the bond near $100,000 but had received pushback. That’s when she decided to send the message.
“I wanted to choose a number that was so big and so ridiculous it would get people to look,” she told KCEN.
Due to the high number, the jail’s booking software could only set the total bond amount at $1,000,000,999.
An attorney said if a high bond is set, it is generally because the court Is trying to technically obey the law and off a bail amount while also ensuring the safety of the community because it is highly unlikely for anyone to meet that amount.
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