KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 6, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Houston's homicide rates have increased 35% over this last year, a startling fact a Katy Victims Advocate says should have people mad and contacting their state representatives and senators ahead of Governor Abbott’s Special Session.
Bill to Help Bail Bond Reform Awaits Special Session
Texas, especially Harris County in Katy, is experiencing a bail reform crisis that Governor Greg Abbott made a priority this legislative session. House Bill 20 was written to address this issue, but it didn’t pass when House Democrats walked out in attempt to not pass a voting restrictions bill. In the process some bills, such as HB 20 and issues that should have made it through the legislative session didn’t.
“The system is broken,” says Andy Kahan, Director of Victims Services and Advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston. “I’ve never seen a situation this severe.”
Special Session this Week and How You can Help
"The time to make our city and county safer through bond reform legislation has come," says Kahan. "I’m asking for your help."
The Special Session is scheduled to start this Thursday, July 8. Now is the time for Katy residents to let their voices be here.
Kahan is asking people to sign their document in support of the bills that would help put an end to the current bail release crisis. Access the document to view (and sign) here.
Startling Facts Should Create Outrage
85 of the 120 victims have been killed in 2020 and 2021 by defendants released on multiple felony bonds.
A PR bond allows a defendant to be released from jail without being required to post any money for their bond. Essentially, they are released on a promise to appear at their next court date.
“The lack of outrage is what I can’t understand. When you have a 1-year old girl killed by a man out on a PR bond and the leaders of this community don’t say anything,” says Kahan. “I don’t get it.”
Recent Katy Nail Salon Shooter Out on Bond
Katy has seen the effect of this many times. Currently, one of the suspects involved in the Katy Nail Salon shooting last month is out on such a bond.
“A PR bond is basically a get out of jail free card,” says Kahan. “There is no common sense this defies logic.”
Last July 17, a Katy mother was shot and killed in her apartment off of Barker Cypress. Kimberly Robinson, 28, was in her bed with her 4-year-old daughter when her ex-boyfriend, Cedgadrick Ardarius shot her.
Her 4-year-old daughter was also shot but recovered. Ardarius was out on multiple personal recognizance bonds, or PR bonds, including a previous assault against Robinson. He was charged with Capital Murder for the shooting of Robinson.
Kahan has no objection to anyone getting a bond. “I do object to people getting out on low bonds with a history of violence, murder, and domestic abuse,” says Kahan.
Bail Reform is a Priority in Special Session
Gov. Abbott has already announced a Special Session to address his priority of fixing the Texas bail reform problem.The session will start this Thursday, July 8. Gov. Abbott says the priority items will be election and bail reform.
“We are hopeful that House Bill 20 will pass, and it will be a priority in the Special Session,” says Andy Kahan, Director of Victims Services and Advocacy for Crime Stoppers of Houston.
Kahan will be at the Special Session and bring with him more people and families who have been affected by this issue.
Houston, Harris County Crime Rate Up
Crime rate is skyrocketing. According to Kahan, Houston’s homicide rate is up 35% from 2020 to 2021. To put it in perspective; Chicago is up 5%, New York City 17%, and Los Angeles 23%.
“It’s Time for a reality check and stop pretending bond reform is not playing a significant role in our increasing crime rates,” says Kahan.
Katy Residents Can Help
Katy residents can make a difference by writing to and/or calling their Senators and House Representatives.
House Bill 20 will eliminate PR Bonds for defendants charged with violent crimes such as murder and human trafficking.
This is a story that Katy Magazine continues to cover and was updated from a previous story that ran on June 16.