A record-breaking $4 billion bond was set Tuesday for a Killeen man who turned himself in last week to police.
Newly elected Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown, Precinct 4, set the record bond which is the largest in Bell County history and possibly the U.S. According to law firm Nuttall & Coleman, the highest bond set in U.S. was $3 billion for NY real estate heir Robert Durst. The bond is higher than TxDOT's Waco District's 96-mile expansion from Hillsboro to Salado which is estimated at $2.5 billion.
County sheriff's Deputy Chief Chuck Cox told the Temple Daily Telegram ( http://bit.ly/2knLEss ) he's never heard of such a high bond. The highest amount he had previously seen was $1 million.
Another attorney, Michael White, told the Temple Daily Telegram that bond is created to make sure a defendant appears in court and is not meant to be a punitive measure. "It makes a mockery of the process and a fool of her".
Jeff Parker, another lawyer, said the $4 billion bond could be challenged as unconstitutional. Hall said he wasn't certain it would be lowered to the point where Willis could afford to post the amount and leave jail until his next court hearing. The Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment and specifically refers to protections against excessive bail or fines.
Willis' bond far exceeds the $3 billion amount set for NY real estate heir Robert Durst before an appeals court in 2004 determined it was unconstitutionally excessive and it was lowered to $450,000.
Justice Brown, a Democrat, is working to complete her training after being elected to her position in November, according to the newspaper.
Willis, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Donte Samuels. Durst was charged and later acquitted in 2003 in the murder of his neighbor, Morris Black.