2 years later: 20 of the murder defendants free on multiple bonds now convicted, sentenced

182 Harris County residents have been killed allegedly at the hands of repeat violent offenders free from jail on multiple felony or personal recognizance bonds. 20 of the killers involved in those slayings are now convicted.

24-year-old Vernon Menifee is a six-time convicted felon. In 2019, he was out of jail on three felony bonds.

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In April 2020, Menifee murdered 29-year-old Guy Anthony Owens.

"The toughest thing I ever experienced in my life, and I've been through some tough things, losing my brother tops everything I've experienced in my life," said Owens' brother, Jason Allen.

"Menifee actually cut a deal for 37 years, so we're not going to hear from him for quite a while," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers. 

MORE: 30-year-old capital murder defendant free from jail after posting $9,000 bond

"Rita was like a daughter to me," said Rita Acosta's Uncle, Thomas Henry Mendez Sr.
30-year-old Jesus Gallegos was granted five felony bonds in just a one-year period. 

Those bonds were set by 230th Criminal District Court Judge Chris Morton.

"Anybody that's got that many bonds shouldn't be out," said Mendez.

On November 6, 2020, Gallegos murdered 43-year-old Rita Acosta.

"Her blanket was up to about here," her uncle recalled. "When I uncovered her face, the whole bed was full of blood."

"Rita Acosta paid the ultimate price for discretionary felony bond reform and that's her life," said Kahan. "Now we found out, he too, was sentenced, and he got 40 years in prison. So we're not going to hear from Jesus Gallegos hopefully for a long time."


Justice won't come anytime soon for relatives of 17-year-old Rail Zarco.

Police say 17-year-okd Raul Alexander Leon shot Zarco to death on January 14, 2021.

262nd Criminal District Court Judge Lori Chambers Gray gave Leon break after break for more than a year when he violated his bonds. She even granted Leon a bond after he was charged with murder.


Out of fear, Zarco’s relatives asked not to be identified.

"Maybe if she would put herself in someone else's shoes that lost somebody who had a whole life ahead of him, maybe she would think differently," Zarco's relative said.

"We find out, once again, he violated his bond. Only this time, we have no idea where he is, because he didn't show up for court," said Kahan. "He's been a wanted fugitive since February 2022."