HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Jonathan Palmares walked out of the 185th District Court as a free but angry man.
"The justice system here is no good," said Palmares, while waiting to get into an elevator. "It's unfair. They tried to get me to plead guilty when I am innocent. They don't take into account cultural differences."
What he calls "cultural differences," the State of Texas calls a crime. A felony warrant of was issued for his arrest in 2015. Prosecutors say he molested two girls over an extended period of time on the Houston Independent School District bus he drove. They say bus surveillance video played in court shows this.
However, the jurors were not convinced. They repeatedly told the judge that they were deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquitting Palmares. Defense attorneys also showed bus video of Palmares with other children in an attempt to portray him as an affectionate and playful man, but not a molester.
"When the jury saw all of this in context, I believe it helped them come to the determination that, 'Hey, we don't really believe this guy is guilty of indecency with a child.'"
After Houston ISD police conducted an investigation into Palmares following an incident reported in the bus, the department presented the case to the Harris County District Attorney's Office which accepted the charges. The student at the center of the investigation attended Gross Elementary School.
Palmares, 46, is free but not free and clear. He will go on trial for the third time in November. The first trial also ended in a mistrial.