HOUSTON – A local family says they've been waiting six years for a trial in the murder of their loved one, but delays keep setting the case back.
Harris County Sheriff's Office investigators said Ross Warax was shot and killed July 27, 2012, after leaving a bar fight in Northwest Harris County.
"While leaving the parking lot, allegedly they tried to run over bar employees or patron's in the parking lot and at least two people produced guns and shot at the car as it was leaving," said Sergeant Ben Beall in a 2012 interview with Channel 2 News.
In September 2013, a Harris County grand jury indicted Jamal Turner for Warax's murder. He was arrested and posted $50,000 bond.
Warax's family expected the trial would happen quickly.
"They told us that it would take about two years before it would go to trial and that shocked us," said Warax's sister, Amanda Abiassi.
Harris County District Clerk records show that since 2016, the trial has been reset five times. Four times it was at the request of the defense attorney and once by agreement between the prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the defense.
After a July postponement, a new trial date of September 20, 2018, is listed in the system but the family says they have little hope it will happen.
"The families get re-victimized by the court system, by the judicial system that's in place. It just prolongs our pain, prolongs our getting past this," said Warax's mother, Karen.
The defense attorney representing Turner would not answer our questions about this case.
A spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney's Office sent this statement in response to our questions about the case:
"Judges determine which trials are held in their courts and when. They face tough choices, as they have dockets with more than 1,000 pending cases, and have to balance an array of factors in order to use their courtrooms as efficiently as possible.
"Hurricane Harvey made precious courtroom space for trials even more scarce, as it flooded the criminal courthouse and knocked it out of commission. We encourage judges to hold trials as often as possible.
"The district clerk’s office records show that this case has been reset for trial five times at the request of the defendant’s attorney. Last summer, our prosecutors jointly agreed to a resetting (for the first and only time) simply because the courtroom had to be used for another trial at that time.
"We remain ready to present this case to a jury and seek justice on behalf of Ross Warax."