HOUSTON – After bond was reduced for the man at the center of the disappearance of Maleah Davis, KPRC Channel 2 News spoke with different experts to get perspective on why Derion Vence's bond was lowered on Monday.
Brian Wice: KPRC Channel 2 Legal Analyst
Wice is recognized as a top criminal appellate attorney. He has spent more than four decades as a criminal defense attorney.
Wice said he understands why people would be upset by the reduced bond.
"Whether you agree with it or not, it was the legally correct thing to do," Wice said.
Wice explained that if the court holds someone with a high bond like a $1 million bond, it’s essentially holding them without a bond.
“Texas law is clear, you can only do that amount in limited cases, including capital murder,” Wice said. "This defendant, regardless of what he may be charged with, regardless with what we might think he has done, is entitled to a reasonable bond for the offense which he's been charged, tampering with a corpse a second-degree felony which carries a penalty two years up to 20 years in the Texas penitentiary.”
Joe Gamaldi: Houston Police Officers Union President
Gamaldi is known to be critical of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
On Monday afternoon, he expressed his feelings about the reduced bond amount.
“The fact of the matter is, a long line of adults has let this poor girl, Maleah, down. And you can add that judge to this long line of adults that have let this girl down. And it’s a disturbing pattern in Harris County that we have in our criminal justice system where we’re more concerned about suspects than we are about victims,” Gamaldi said.
He continued that, at the same time, it’s important for people to remember: “Bond cannot be used for incarceration. It is used to make sure that someone shows up to court. And I would just ask a reasonable person: "Do you think $4,500 is enough for someone to show up in court? I would say the answer is no. Especially in a case like this."
Andy Kahan: Crime Stoppers Director of Victim Services and Advocacy
Kahan has spent more than 20 years at Crime Stoppers and has worked on many cases. He said his main focus is finding the 4-year-old who is still missing.
“No matter what’s going to play out, as far as the legal issues right now, still to me the most important thing is finding Maleah Davis. All that other stuff is eventually going to play out,” Kahan said. “Of course, it’s a soap opera every day, new twists and turns every day, but the bottom line right now is you have a 4-year-old girl for over a week.”
He’s still asking people to call 713-222-TIPS (8477) with information.
Kahan said even though there’s still a lot to determine in this case, the timing of it, around Mother’s Day, reminds him of a case from 2008.
Randy Sylvester pleaded guilty to capital murder in 2008 for killing his two kids who were found stuffed inside a suitcase. It happened on Father’s Day. Randy Sylvester killed his 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
He initially said kidnappers took them because he owed money, but later confessed and led police to the bodies.