Felon released on low bond amount, accused in murder case

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — Jamal Nicholson knows the criminal justice system. The last time Nicholson was arrested, he was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. It's a serious charge that can bring serious time. It can bring serious time, but it hasn't.

"He's someone with a lengthy criminal history," said Houston Police Officers' Union president Joe Gamaldi. "On top of that, he's a gang banger. He gets caught in possession of a firearm and he gets a bond of only $5,000. And of course, we know he has to post $500 dollars bond, which he did."

Indeed, Nicholson posted the bond back in December 2018, but then on Monday night, police say he and a friend had a run-in with a man named Darius Brown at a convenience store. Police say that the two men followed Brown home, cornered him in front of his Village Place townhouse, and shot Brown as he sat in his car. 

But why was Nicholson free at all? The case had been assigned to the 179th court of Judge Randy Roll. According to the judge, Nicholson's bond had been set earlier by a magistrate in probable cause court and he bonded out before his arraignment.

Judges generally operate off sentencing and bond guidelines set forth by the Texas Legislature. There is a bill before the legislature that would implement a risk assessment tool for judges when setting bail. Senator John Whitmire is one of the bill's sponsors. His office told us he was unavailable for comment. 

Would it have made a difference in this case? 

"Now, we have someone who is already in a possession of  a firearm, a gang member, pretty sure he's not a good guy and now he's wanted for murder because he was able to get out on a cheap bond," added Gamaldi.

Meanwhile the two accused killers are on the loose.

Harris County prosecutors notified Judge Roll of Nicholson's arrest warrant for murder. He revoked Nicholson's bond which means that when he is arrested, he'll be held on a weapons charge with no bond.