Texas whopper: $4 billion bond set for man in murder case

County sheriff's Deputy Chief Chuck Cox said he's never heard of such a high bond

Legal Generic

KILLEEN, Texas (AP) — They say everything is bigger in Texas. It’s now safe to say that applies to bail.

Bell County Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown set Antonio Marquis Willis’ bond last week at a whopping $4 billion in the Dec. 22 killing of another man at a home in Killeen, about 55 miles north of Austin.

County sheriff’s Deputy Chief Chuck Cox said he’s never heard of such a high bond, the Temple Daily Telegram reported (http://bit.ly/2knLEss ). The highest amount he had previously seen was $1 million.

Willis’ lawyer, Billy Ray Hall Jr., said he’s confident the amount will be lowered when Hall makes the request to a state district judge. Hall said he wasn’t certain it would be lowered to the point where Willis could afford to post the amount and leave jail until his next court hearing.

Another lawyer, Michael White, said bond is designed to protect the public and ensure a defendant appears in court. It’s not meant to be a punitive measure, he said.

“This justice of the peace is abusing the bail process in an attempt to make a name for herself, as opposed to setting a reasonable and affordable bond as required by law,” White said. “It makes a mockery of the process and a fool of her.”

Lawyer Jeff Parker said the $4 billion bond could be challenged as unconstitutional. The Constitution’s Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment and specifically refers to protections against excessive bail or fines.

The Associated Press left a message at Brown’s office Thursday asking why she set such an expensive bond. She was elected to her position in November.

Willis, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Donte Samuels.

Willis’ bond far exceeds the $3 billion amount set for New York real estate heir Robert Durst before an appeals court in 2004 determined it was unconstitutionally excessive and it was lowered to $450,000. At the time, Durst had recently been acquitted of killing his neighbor while living in Texas. He was being held on related charges.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s