HOUSTON – Family, friends and supporters of Diamond Alvarez gathered to protest the justice system Wednesday after the suspect accused of killing the 16-year-old girl was released on bond.
The protest was held outside the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where they marched to the criminal courthouse.
Alvarez was killed on Jan. 11 after allegedly being shot 22 times by her boyfriend, 17-year-old Frank Deleon Jr., in a southwest Houston neighborhood.
Investigators said Deleon was romantically involved, or in a love triangle, with Alvarez and another female. When Alvarez found out about the other relationship, the two agreed to meet around 9:30 p.m. at a park located in the 15400 block of Park Manor.
Alvarez’s family said she was outside walking the family dog, “Peanut,” when they heard gunshots. Her parents became concerned and her mother dialed her phone, but received no response. Alvarez’s mother and stepfather then went outside and found Peanut alone. Immediately, they knew something was wrong.
After searching the neighborhood, they found Alvarez lying in a field.
“I tried CPR. I couldn’t bring her back. I tried so hard to keep her alive,” Anna Machado, the girl’s mother, said.
Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots and then the sound of tires screeching as a vehicle fled the area, according to HPD.
During the investigation, Deleon Jr. was identified as the gunman and was arrested on Jan. 17. He was charged with murder and released the next day after posting a $250,000 bond.
“Why is he free? Is her life only worth 25 thousand dollars?” said Blanca Mejia, Diamond’s aunt. “We ask that the bail bonds not only ask for money, not only ask for property, and not only ask for 10%. Diamond’s life is not worth 10%, her life was worth more.”
Diamond’s mother, Anna Machado, is also questioning why Deleon Jr. was released from jail. She said she’s tired of judges letting criminals post bond and get back on the streets. She said her daughter didn’t deserve to be shot and killed.
“I can’t sleep watching the cameras. Any noise I get up. I can’t sleep,” said Machado.
The family also said Delon’s bond should be revoked because they have been getting threats from him.
KPRC asked the District Attorney about any possible threats against Diamond’s family, and the office said it can confirm the family is getting threats, but cannot confirm if they are coming from the defendant or his family or associates.
“This is a really delicate case which draws attention to the various systems that fail our community. We must do better to provide families with safer communities and to hold all people accountable for their actions. We will make multiple stops to bring attention to the people who we must hold accountable for these cases,” said Cesar Espinosa, FIEL executive director.
The family said they also want anyone who may have helped the suspect commit the crime to pay for what they did.
“Who provided this person with a gun? The family also wants to talk to the D.A., whoever gave access to this underage boy, that they also get charges filed on them,” said Espinoza.
The sister of Jose Campos Torres also joined the protest and called for Justice.
Torres was beaten to death by Houston police officers in 1977.
His body was later found in Buffalo Bayou and his death sparked the Moody Park riots one year later.
“This is our building, they work for us, they work for the people. Hold them accountable, revoke his bond!” said Janie Torres, sister of Jose Campos Torres.
The District Attorney’s Office responded to the march with the following statement:
“We are fully focused on getting justice for Diamond. We fully support getting violent criminals off our streets, and we will do everything in our power to convict the defendant of this vicious murder and deliver justice to Diamond’s family, her friends, and the entire community,” said Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.”