Yes, it was that easy.
A capital murder suspect in Texas had his court-ordered ankle monitor removed by the device’s operators after he didn’t pay them a fee to wear it.
Clint Walker, 27, is accused of shooting and killing a man in November 2016 during a robbery-gone-wrong. He was released on $100,000 bond and was told to wear a GPS monitor, which was provided by a company, Guarding Public Safety.
According to KHOU, however, the Harris County man “failed to pay the company his monthly monitoring fee,” which was a condition of his bond. The firm then removed the device, and officials were unable to track him.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told the station that the firm sent “a representative to physically remove his ankle monitor” on Sept. 19. Walker wasn’t arrested again until Oct. 2, the report stated, meaning he wasn’t being monitored for about two weeks.
“The vendor that was monitoring Mr. Walker was upset with him being $305 behind in his fees,” David Mitcham, the assistant district attorney, told ABC13.
The company also didn’t alert the court that Walker’s monitor was taken back.
Ogg said the incident is a “troubling loophole,” blaming Guarding Public Safety for the mishap, according to KHOU.
“The vendor was immediately terminated because of serious violations of the memorandum of understanding,” Teresa May, department of director, told the station.
Guarding Public Safety issued a statement about the matter.
“My company sent several violations on Clint Walker to the Harris County Pretrial Supervison Dept. including his failure to charge his device as instructed resulting in no location and no communication. His device went dead several times and we had no location and no communication with this defendant. Immediate notification was sent upon removal of his device,” it told ABC13.
The DA’s office noted that in Harris County, there are 173 accused murderers out on bond.
“We have identified approximately 173 cases where individuals are out on bond for murder,” Mitcham said, according to Newsweek. “And if they are required to wear a GPS device, we want that condition of bond maintained. And we have notified the proper authorities to look into this matter to make sure this is not a widespread problem.”
Walker is accused of shooting security guard Enrique Garcia to death.
“It’s a concern to me and it raises multiple flags as to answers that I need,” Garcia’s son, Hugo Garcia, told KHOU.
“Who is watching these people that have prior records and are allowed to roam the streets?” he asked.