By early 2022, Houston had the highest murder rate of the largest American cities–even greater than Chicago.
These are the crime and criminal stories…
Rosalie Cook was stabbed to death outside her car after shopping at Walgreens near Gessner and S. Braeswood on May 16, 2020. Her accused murderer–Randy Lewis, 38– had been arrested 67 times before.
Democrat Judge Herb Ritchie waived bond for Lewis on charges where he had assaulted a public servant–while in jail for a two-year-old felony charge–and let him move to a halfway house. Lewis left the facility after two days and was back on Houston streets. He murdered Rosalie Cook two weeks later. Lewis was in the Walgreens lot where a police officer fatally shot him after Lewis lunged at the officer with a knife.
Joshua Sandoval, 28 years old, was followed home at night and died after being shot in his garage on May 27, 2021.
Two weeks later, robbers followed Jeffrey Johnson and his wife from a Galleria-area restaurant to their League City home on June 11, 2021, where he was shot to death in his garage.
Devan Jordon was charged in both murders.
Records link Jordon to a string of robberies and shootings across Houston. Before the murders of Joshua and Jeffrey, Jordon had been jailed on multiple felony charges, including evading arrest with weapons in his car. But Democrat Judge Te’iva Bell had let Jordon out of jail on bond in April 2021. He failed to wear an ankle monitor as mandated, so was ordered to return to court the next month. Jordon did not show up in court. That same day, Joshua Sandoval was murdered. The next month, Jeffrey Johnson was killed.
Even after Jordon was charged with two capital murders for the deaths of Josh Sandoval and Jeffrey Johnson, Democrat Judge Jason Luong again let Jordon out of jail on bond.
Martha Medina, a 71-year-old mother and grandmother, was picking up breakfast for her family at a McDonald’s in east Houston on September 23, 2021, when a man snatched her purse then killed her by running over her in the parking lot. Police say Andrew Williams had followed Martha from a nearby bank then killed her.
Before Martha was murdered, Democrat Judge Hilary Unger had released Williams on bond on a charge of capital murder. That prior murder had happened in March 2019–two years before–but has still not been tried, over three years later.
Reginald Lewis was shot in the head and his house set on fire on August 16, 2021.
Four weeks later, Donovan Bryant was shot to death while riding his four-wheeler in northeast Houston.
Donald Lenor, Reginald Lewis’s stepson, was charged with murdering both Reginald and Donovan. Lenor had multiple convictions for violent felonies over 20 years.
Lenor was on Houston streets when Reginald and Donovan were murdered because Democrat Judge DaSean Jones had reduced Lenor’s bail and released him on bond for five pending prior felony charges, including strangling his girlfriend and shooting a man, even though Lenor was found to be a “danger to the future safety of the community.”
Caitlynne Guajardo, 20 years old and pregnant, was repeatedly stabbed at her Pasadena home in August 2019, killing her and her unborn child. Alex Guajardo, her husband, confessed and was charged with her murder.
Alex Guajardo had been arrested and released by Democrat Judge Shannon Baldwin’s court on no-cost bonds for crimes including multiple DWI’s and assault for beating his wife. He was released just 18 hours days before she was murdered.
Diamond Alvarez, 15 years old, was shot 22 times, in the back, while walking her dog on January 11, 2022. Police charged 17-year-old Frank DeLeon, Jr., for Diamond’s murder.
Democrat Judge Hazel Jones released DeLeon on bond. He continued to threaten and harass the Alvarez family with gunshots at night. He was jailed again in April 2022 for alleged bond violations, but his bond was not revoked. Instead, Judge Jones again released him on bond.
Silvano Cortez, 55 years old, and his wife were sleeping at their Greenspoint-area home on October 19, 2017 when robbers invaded and ransacked their home and held them at gunpoint, then shot Silvano to death.
Summer Chester, a 23-year-old TSU senior, was killed January 25, 2022, by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light on the North Freeway feeder and slammed into her car, knocking it on its side on the sidewalk. The driver fled the scene.
Jonathan Vera was charged with both deaths.
Vera had been arrested and charged with the capital murder of Silvano almost four years before Summer was killed. Vera stayed in jail over two years, where he was also charged with harassment of a public servant.
Then, in March 2021, Democrat Judge Natalia Cornelio lowered his bond–for capital murder–to $50,000. Vera walked out of jail the next day. Vera was arrested and charged with manslaughter in 2022 for the death of Summer Chester. Meanwhile, Vera has not yet been tried for the murder of Silvano Cortez — over four years after being arrested.
Ramona Jones, a mother of three and a grandmother, was stabbed to death on October 28, 2020.
Felisha Washington was charged with murdering Ramona. Democrat Judge Chris Morton then lowered her bail amount and released Washington on bond. While awaiting trial for Ramona’s murder, Washington was charged with stabbing a witness to the Jones murder in August 2021.
Constable Deputy Omar Ursin, 37 years old, was murdered on August 28, 2022, while driving to pick up food for his family in Atascocita. Gunshots from a nearby vehicle hit Omar, who died when his car then slammed into a tree. Jayland Womack and Ahsim Taylor, Jr, were charged with the capital murder of Deputy Ursin.
This was not the first time the suspects had been charged with murder. They had been charged in two prior murders.
Womack had been charged in January 2021 for a murder during a robbery. However, Democrat Judge Greg Glass had released Womack from jail in January 2021 on a $35,000 bond (later raised to $75,000 for bond violations) despite that murder charge.
Taylor had been charged in June 2021 for capital murder during a car sale meet-up that turned deadly. But Democrat Judge Amy Martin had released Taylor from jail in June 2021 after reducing his bond from $200,000 to $75,000, despite that capital murder charge. Taylor was arrested in January 2022 for bond violations, but was again released.
Both Womack and Taylor were wearing ankle monitors when Deputy Ursin was murdered.
Khylie Sorrells, 9 years old, died after being shot in her Heights-area apartment bedroom on June 13, 2022. Police said her accused murderer, Jeremiah Jones, was upset with Khylie’s mother, ripped a TV off a wall, fired two shots into a bedroom, shot the mother, and left. Khylie, shot in the head, died before she reached the hospital.
Jones had multiple felony convictions, had been charged with burglary and being a felon in possession of gun, and had five pending felony charges. But Democrat Judge Ramona Franklin had let Jones out of jail on bond anyway, in June 2022. Two weeks later, Khylie Sorrells was murdered.
Keishan Betts, 46 years old, was shot in her Clear Lake-area apartment on April 17, 2022. She died in the hospital the next week. Delvin Clemons was charged with her murder.
Before Keishan was murdered, Clemons’ record included 17 felony convictions and other charges, including robbery, unlawfully possessing a weapon, assault, family violence, indecent exposure, and burglary. Clemons had been arrested in October 2021 for burglary and being a felon possessing a firearm. Democrat Judge Josh Hill promptly let Clemons out of jail on a $15,000 bond. Clemons was again arrested the next month for possessing a firearm. Rather than revoke his prior bond, Democrat Judge Josh Hill released Clemons again in November 2021, on a $20,000 bond.
Five months later, with Clemons out of jail on bond despite his extensive criminal record, Keishan Betts was murdered.
John Smith, 17 years old, was shot and killed outside a home in the Independence Heights/Garden Oaks area of Houston on May 21, 2022. Police arrested and charged 44-year-old Raymond Young with the murder. At the time, Young had a rap sheet that included three gun charges and four assault convictions, including two causing bodily injury. Young was also a registered sex offender with multiple felony convictions of indecent exposure with a child.
Democrat Judge Dasean Jones let Young out of jail on a $10,000 bond for felony charges of assaulting a family member.
Two weeks later, with Young out on bail despite his criminal record, teenager John Smith was murdered.
Houston police officer Bill Jeffrey, 54 years old, was fatally shot on on September 20, 2021, at an apartment complex in northeast Houston. Officer Jeffrey was trying to arrest Deon Ledet, 31, a twice-convicted felon who had been arrested 18 times after 2008 on charges that included burglary, aggravated assault of a family member, car theft, and evading arrest. Ledet had been sent to prison on a ten-year sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His latest charge, in November 2020, was for felony drug possession and intent to distribute.
Prosecutors had moved to deny bail, but Democrat Judge Greg Glass instead disagreed and actually lowered the total bond amount to $30,000. Ledet returned to Houston streets, never got the ankle monitor he was required to wear, and violated his bond conditions, then did not show up in court as ordered in January 2021. Eight months later, Bill Jeffrey and another tried to serve an arrest warrant on Ledet, who then fired on the police. After exchanging gunfire with the police, Ledet was killed after he shot Officer and murdered Officer Jeffrey.
According to the president of the Houston Police Officers Union, the Democrat Judge “neglected his duty” by refusing to hold trial and repeatedly releasing hundreds of violent suspects on bond.
Reginald “Duke” Larry was shot in the head ouside a south Houston convenience store on February 9, 2020, and later died in the hospital. Gerald Dewayne Washington, charged with the murder, was out of jail on bond despite a previous murder charge.
Washington was charged in fall 2018 for the October 2017 shooting murder of Crystal Turner. Mere months after she first took office in 2019, Democrat Judge Ramona Franklin reduced Washington’s bail bond amount and let him out of jail. Some six months later, Reginald Larry was murdered. Over four years after the first murder, Washington has still not been tried for either murder.
James Patrick Jeffery, 64 years old, was beaten to death in his southwest Houston home with a metal bar on August 20, 2021. Vincent Trevon Sanders was charged with capital murder in the brutal slaying.
Sanders, a career criminal, already had a string of felony convictions in Harris and Fort Bend counties. Sanders was charged with five more felonies after March 2020, including robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and strangling a family member. But Democrat Judge Frank Aguilar repeatedly let Sanders out of jail on bond, despite prosecutors asking him three times to revoke those bonds.
Sanders was on Houston streets after being released time and again when police say he broke into James Patrick Jeffery’s home and beat him to death. With no known next of kin, Mr. Jeffery was buried in a pauper’s grave.
Alejandro Ocanas, a 25-year-old father of two, was shot multiple times and died in southeast Houston on October 21, 2020. Giovani Montiel was charged with murder for Alejandro’s death.
This was not Montiel’s first murder charge. He had been arrested and charged with capital murder for an October 2016 killing during an attempted robbery. Montiel remained in Harris County jail for three years, awaiting trial. After taking office in 2019, Democrat Judge Jason Luong approved a plea deal (never finalized) to reduce the charge to aggravated robbery, then reduced Montiel’s bond to only $20,000. Montiel promptly got out of jail after paying only $2,000.
Three months later, Alejandro was murdered, leaving behind his wife and children. Montiel was arrested. Police say Montiel shot him and left him to die. Montiel still has not been tried for either the 2016 capital murder charge or the 2020 murder of Alejandro Ocanas.
And Many More…
There are over 150 capital murder warrants issued in Harris County today. This is the largest the city of Houston has ever experienced.
CRIMESTOPPERS March 29, 2022