Grand jury indicts Victor Cuevas, suspect seen fleeing with Houston tiger in May

HOUSTON – The suspect that was seen fleeing with a tiger in a west Houston neighborhood on May 10 was expected to appear in court Thursday to determine if there was probable cause that a crime was committed.

Victor Cuevas’ attorney said they have evidence that would help drop his case. On Wednesday though, the district attorney’s office took it to a grand jury and Cuevas was indicted.

This frame grab from video provided by the Houston Police Department shows a tiger that was found after a nearly week-long search in Houston. (Courtesy of Houston Police Department via AP)
A tiger seen in west Houston on May 9, 2021. (Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)
Victor Hugo Cuevas (Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers)

“I fully believe that if we had been allowed to have this trial today, we would’ve had a finding of no probable cause by the judge and I’m quite sure this case would’ve been done and over with,” Defense Attorney Michael Elliott said.

Elliott says the hearing Thursday was to determine if there was probable cause that a crime was committed. The attorney said they were prepared with a testimony from police officers – one saying no one told Cuevas he was under arrest or had to stay on the scene that day and another saying none of the officers followed Cuevas while he was in his car with their lights and sirens on.

“Rather than come and present their evidence, if they got a real case, bring it in, and instead they hid… It’s terrible, it’s shameful. They don’t even look at the testimony which would’ve exonerated my client,” Elliot said.

KPRC 2 talked with a spokesperson from the district attorney’s office and he said the case was ready so that’s why they presented it to a grand jury.

Cuevas was arrested on May 11 on charges of evading arrest and murder but was later released after he paid a $300,000 bond.

Investigators said Cuevas was out on bond for a murder charge the night the tiger named India got loose on May 9. Cuevas fled from Houston police with the tiger but he was later arrested and charged with evading arrest, prompting prosecutors to request the bond be revoked on the murder charge, according to the district attorney’s office. Two days later, Cuevas made bond in connection to the evading arrest charge and was released from a Fort Bend County Jail.

However, after a lengthy court appearance on May 14, a judge revoked the murder bond and ordered Cuevas back to jail. He has remained in jail since then.

According to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Cuevas had been booked in the Fort Bend County Jail on five other occasions for violation of his bond after the 2017 murder charge.

India the tiger is now settling in its new habitat.

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KPRC 2 Digital Content Producer Brittany Taylor contributed to this report.


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