HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A year and a half after Jacqueline Mouton lost her 18-year-old son, the pain has not subsided. Her house is still a shrine to her son Brent Randall, then a freshman at TSU when he was murdered in his off-campus housing apartment complex.
“When they take your baby from you, you’re never, ever the same. Your life is just ended,” said Mouton.
Then, right before Mother's Day this year, Mouton found out the murder suspect, Jartis Leblanc Jr., had been released on bond. But she said the Harris County District Attorney’s Office never told her. The suspect is also accused of shooting her other son, who did survive. Police said the shooting in 2015 was in apparent retaliation over a basketball game.
“When I heard it, that he was out and the justice system -- no one called! Nobody said ‘Look, this man could come kill any one of you all’ -- my other son is living,” said Mouton. “They didn’t say nothing, and I’ve been sitting in that court ever since they took my baby. I've been sitting in court every time they got a court date and y’all going to do something behind my back and let this monster go?”
Mouton said she believes the justice system is failing her. After Kim Ogg was elected, the Harris County District Attorney's Office cleaned house and fired dozens of prosecutors, saying they wanted to stop a culture of seeking convictions over actually seeking justice. Mouton believes her case is falling through the cracks. She said the prosecutor in her case has changed at least six times in the past year and a half.
“This is horrible,” said Mouton. “I tried to call the D.A. They switched D.A.s so much.”
“It sounds like this victim fell through the cracks. The district attorney's office is going through a lot of turnover and change right now, and it sounds like this is somebody who, unfortunately, wasn’t informed the way they should be. Even though it's not a policy in the office that a victim must be informed, obviously it's implicit in the Texas Victim’s Rights Act that a person should be informed,” said Carmen Roe, a criminal defense attorney and Fox 26 legal analyst.
Fox 26 News reach out to the D.A.'s office for a comment. While the office expressed their sympathy, they did not answer questions directly relating to this case and whether they believe they have an obligation to tell victims’ families when murder suspects make bond.