Mistake lets murder suspect leave jail

Richard Mendoza accused of killing Christopher Daigle

Published On: Nov 21 2011 04:50:59 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 21 2011 05:56:06 PM CST
Richard Mendoza, Chris Daigle
RICHMOND, Texas -

A man accused in a classmate's death walked out of jail Monday because of a technicality.

Richard Mendoza has been charged with murder.

Fort Bend County sheriff's deputies said Christopher Allen Daigle of Missouri City was 17 when he disappeared in 2002.

Detectives said they believe Mendoza fatally shot Daigle in a rural area between Arcola and Juliff and left his body there.

Mendoza and Daigle had been friends and played baseball together since they were 5 years old, investigators said.

Mendoza was arrested in August and had been in jail since then. He was released from jail on a technicality.

"I don't know how to feel anymore," said Tracey Gregory, Daigle's mother. "How could they just let him out like that? Who is he going to hurt next?"

According to state law, a grand jury must hear a case within 90 days of a suspect's arrest. This case was never heard.

Daigle's family said they knew about the law and repeatedly contacted the Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office.

"We constantly were calling," Gregory said.

An ankle monitor was placed on Mendoza when he was released. He has a curfew, is required to undergo drug and alcohol testing and will be monitored by the probation office.

"We can't have faith in the justice system anymore," said Jennifer Hayes, Daigle's sister. "We just have to keep our faith in God and just leave it in his hands and pray that everything comes out."

The Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office has not returned calls from KPRC Local 2 seeking comment.