Sabine County, TX- (April 6, 2021)
According to several sources and a flood of messages, the community is outraged after learning the man accused of brutally murdering Livye Lewis was released on a $50,000 bond.
A Sabine County Grand Jury indicted 24- year old, Matthew Hoy Edgar on March 16 in connection to the murder of 19-year-old Livye Lewis, on October 31, 2020. Family member, friends, and community are struggling to understand the release of anyone accused of such a violent crime, not only for the safety of the community, but for the safety of Edgar as emotions run high.
An indictment is not a conviction, but a presentation of evidence to jurors who decide if a trial by a jury of peers is warranted. The indictment alleges Edgar, "intentionally, and knowingly caused the death of Livye Heathyr Lewis"... "by discharging a rifle and striking her about the neck and upper body." Edgar remained in jail, after the March 16, indictment was handed down by the Grand Jury.
A bond amount was not noted on the indictment. A State of Texas vs. Matthew Hoy Edgar murder trial has not been set on the Pacer legal search for the Eastern District of Texas, as far as I have found. No bond was set for his release after he was taken into custody on Oct. 31, 2020.
While researching when no bond applies in Texas several articles were found with similar information as follows:
ARE MURDER AND MANSLAUGHTER BONDABLE CHARGES IN TEXAS?
Capital murder is the only charge in Texas in which a defendant is not entitled to a bond as a general rule. If a judge wants to deny bond to a capital murder defendant, he or she can.
However, for all other charges, including murder and manslaughter, defendants are entitled to a bond unless certain, limited circumstances apply. These circumstances are set out in section 11a of the Texas Constitution. They are:
- If a defendant is charged with a felony and has been convicted of two prior felonies at two different times
- If a defendant has been charged with a felony while on bail for a felony for which he has been indicted
- If a defendant has been charged of committing a felony with a deadly weapon and has been convicted of a prior felony; or
- If a defendant has been accused of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, or indecency with a child while on felony probation.
If any of these four circumstances apply, the State has seven days to ask the judge for a hearing to hold the defendant without bond. If, at the hearing, the judge finds that one of these four circumstances applies and (for circumstances 1 and 3 only) if evidence is also presented substantially showing the defendant’s guilt, the judge can order the defendant held without bond for sixty days. But after sixty days, the no bond order is set aside and the judge must set a bond.
Even under the worst-case scenario, a murder or manslaughter defendant will be held without bond for only sixty days. And although capital murder defendants do not have the right to a bond, most judges will set bonds in capital murder cases as well. Whether the bond that the judge ultimately sets is one that the defendant can realistically make, however, is another matter entirely.
Defendants who do make bond in murder and manslaughter cases are usually placed on bond supervision, which can include travel restrictions, a curfew, and GPS monitoring.
Upon searching for how courts decide no bond status, these two were both cited: to protect victim and community.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.152. Denial of bail for violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence case
a) In this article, “family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code .
(b) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (d), a person who commits an offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code , related to a violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence case and whose bail in the case under Section 25.07, Penal Code , or in the family violence case is revoked or forfeited for a violation of a condition of bond may be taken into custody and, pending trial or other court proceedings, denied release on bail if following a hearing a judge or magistrate determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the person violated a condition of bond related to:
(1) the safety of the victim of the offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code , or the family violence case, as applicable; or
(2) the safety of the community.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by Subsection (d), a person who commits an offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code , other than an offense related to a violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence case, may be taken into custody and, pending trial or other court proceedings, denied release on bail if following a hearing a judge or magistrate determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the person committed the offense.
(d) A person who commits an offense under Section 25.07(a)(3), Penal Code , may be held without bail under Subsection (b) or (c), as applicable, only if following a hearing the judge or magistrate determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the person went to or near the place described in the order or condition of bond with the intent to commit or threaten to commit:
(1) family violence; or
(2) an act in furtherance of an offense under Section 42.072, Penal Code .
(e) In determining whether to deny release on bail under this article, the judge or magistrate may consider:
(1) the order or condition of bond;
(2) the nature and circumstances of the alleged offense;
(3) the relationship between the accused and the victim, including the history of that relationship;
(4) any criminal history of the accused; and
(5) any other facts or circumstances relevant to a determination of whether the accused poses an imminent threat of future family violence.
(f) A person arrested for committing an offense under Section 25.07, Penal Code , shall without unnecessary delay and after reasonable notice is given to the attorney representing the state, but not later than 48 hours after the person is arrested, be taken before a magistrate in accordance with Article 15.17 . At that time, the magistrate shall conduct the hearing and make the determination required by this article.
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 17.153. Denial of bail for violation of condition of bond where child alleged victim
(a) This article applies to a defendant charged with a felony offense under any of the following provisions of the Penal Code, if committed against a child younger than 14 years of age:
(1) Chapter 21 (Sexual Offenses);
(2) Section 25.02 (Prohibited Sexual Conduct);
(3) Section 43.25 (Sexual Performance by a Child);
(4) Section 20A.02 (Trafficking of Persons), if the defendant is alleged to have:
(A) trafficked the child with the intent or knowledge that the child would engage in sexual conduct, as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code ; or
(B) benefited from participating in a venture that involved a trafficked child engaging in sexual conduct, as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code ; or
(5) Section 43.05(a)(2) (Compelling Prostitution).
(b) A defendant described by Subsection (a) who violates a condition of bond set under Article 17.41 and whose bail in the case is revoked for the violation may be taken into custody and denied release on bail pending trial if, following a hearing, a judge or magistrate determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated a condition of bond related to the safety of the victim of the offense or the safety of the community. If the magistrate finds that the violation occurred, the magistrate may revoke the defendant's bond and order that the defendant be immediately returned to custody. Once the defendant is placed in custody, the revocation of the defendant's bond discharges the sureties on the bond, if any, from any future liability on the bond. A discharge under this subsection from any future liability on the bond does not discharge any surety from liability for previous forfeitures on the bond.