Judge who set Akins High suspect’s original bond defends her decision

Akins High School lockdown_642027

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The municipal court judge who set the original $15,000 bond with no restrictions for the ex-Akins High School student accused of threatening to blow and shoot up the school is defending her decision.

When the case was presented to Judge Celeste Villarreal Thursday night by the arresting officer, she decided to set his bond at $15,000, which she says is “fairly high” since Ariel Ramirez-Navarro, 17, is a first-time offender with no criminal history and had no history of juvenile or adult arrests.

“There was also no indication or evidence of any mental health issues,” Villarreal says in a statement to KXAN. “The bond was set with all the available information at that time.”

Ariel Alex Ramirez Navarro (Austin Police Department)

According to his arrest affidavit, Ramirez-Navarro got on an AISD school bus Thursday morning and allegedly threatened the school. He also allegedly made threats once he arrived on the campus and showed students what appeared to be “an ammunition clip, a box of ammunition, and smoke grenade bombs,” in his Gucci-style backpack.

Police later found him and his backpack, which had loaded magazines and ammunition in it.

After securing a surety bond, Ramirez-Navarro was able to post bail and was released on Friday morning without any bond restrictions.

“Every person arrested is entitled to a bail amount to be set, and can access a bail bondsman to get released from custody while their case is pending,” Villarreal says.

After being out on bond the entire weekend, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore asked a judge to sign off on a new order adding restrictions to the suspect’s bond. Villarreal says she agrees that adding bond conditions is appropriate.

Although Moore says she didn’t know about the lack of bond restrictions until the weekend, KXAN reached out to Moore’s office twice Friday morning regarding the suspect’s bond and the lack of restrictions, but we never received a response back.

Villarreal adds that having been a judge for eight years, she is “dedicated to administering justice with fairness and compassion, and following the rule of law.”

According to court records, Ramirez-Navarro’s bond now includes:

  • He must get a mental health evaluation and follow all recommendations
  • Stay at least 500 yards from Akins High School
  • The defendant may not possess any type of weapon at his home, on his person or otherwise
  • The defendant must wear a GPS monitoring device installed at the earliest time

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