HOUSTON - You would think the savage murder of 80-year-old Rosalee Cook a year ago would have been a call for action for Harris County’s Criminal Justice System.
Instead, District Court judges pushed the revolving door even harder spitting out repeat violent offenders to wreak even more havoc.
"It’s kind of like Rosalee Cook was simply collateral damage of criminal justice reform," said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers.
On a bright sunny Saturday in May of 2020, Cook was stabbed to death while walking to her car in a Walgreens parking lot.
"It was disbelief," said Rosalee’s son Chuck Cook. "I kept saying over and over my mother was killed that makes no sense to me."
What makes even less sense, why in the world was a habitual criminal like 37-year-old Randy Lewis free from jail on two felony personal recognizance bonds.
"They let him out on a PR bond without any kind of supervision, not even an electronic monitoring device," Cook said.
A year has passed and 115 Harris County residents have been killed allegedly by repeat violent offenders free from jail on multiple felony or PR bonds. 80 of those killings happened after Rosalee Cook’s murder.
"And we haven’t changed one bit;" her son said. "The judges are still held unaccountable and the criminals let out are still held unaccountable."
Take 178th Criminal District Court Judge Kelli Johnson.
Last December, she gave 29-year-old Aaron Chissom, a felony PR bond for a charge of felon in possession of a weapon.
He failed to appear in court so he went back to jail.
On February 15, Judge Kelli Johnson gave Chissom a cash bond. The very next day the career criminal allegedly shot a man to death. Chissom is now charged with Capital Murder.
"In hindsight, what I’d, it was 5 days later, what if he was still in custody, this gentleman would be alive today," Kahan said.
182nd Criminal District Court Judge Danny Lacayo freed 28-year-old Darius Jackson from jail five times with felony cash bonds. Then Judge Lacayo gives him a freebie. A PR bond.
"How on Earth can you justify getting a PR bond when you’re already out on five felony bonds," said Kahan.
Jackson is now a wanted fugitive after shooting a woman 11 times.
"What I want to see is laws passed that hold these judges accountable," Chuck Cook said. "That gives some common sense criteria to bond reform."