HOUSTON - "Rita was like a daughter to me," said Thomas Henry Mendez Sr. 43-year-old Rita Acosta's Uncle. There's no doubt Acosta's murder could have been prevented.
"This is about as egregious as it gets," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers.
Acosta's alleged killer is her boyfriend 30-year-old Jesus Gallegos.
"You've got a violent criminal history with Gallegos who actually served a stint in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon," Kahan said.
Gallegos' violent criminal past didn't stop Judge Morton from freeing Gallegos from jail 5 times by granting him 5 bonds in just a one year period.
Of the 5 bonds, 4 were felony bonds and of the 4 felony bonds 2 of them were PR Personal Recognizance bonds which makes zip sense," said Kahan.
"Anybody that's got that many bonds shouldn't be out," Mendez said. Last September 3, Rita Acosta got an emergency protective order against Gallegos.
He was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device which court records indicate he violated numerous times.
In an interview with Jim Bethke interim director for Harris County Pretrial Services, we asked why his agency didn't notify the court that Gallegos had violated his electronic monitoring device daily between Oct. 17 and Nov. 3.
The court was notified on Nov. 3 he told us. Rita Acosta was murdered on November 6. That was the day Mendez found his niece's body in their east side home.
"Her blanket was up to about right here," he said. "When I uncovered her face the whole blanket was full of blood." Bethke became interim director of Pretrial Services on Nov. 10 four days after Rita Acosta's murder.
"I don't have a good reason as to why the court wasn't notified on Oct. 17 or Oct. 18," he said.
"We're going to update the policy and we've begun training so this type of situation doesn't happen again."
"She left a beautiful family behind," said Rita Acosta's Uncle. Judge Chris Morton didn't call back.