The state’s highest criminal court rejected an appeal Wednesday by McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna that challenged an intermediate appellate court’s order reducing the bond of a capital murder defendant.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling upheld an April decision by Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals that reduced bond for James Ray Brossett from $5 million to $1 million.
Reyna’s office appealed the 10th Court’s ruling, and the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the appeal without comment or written opinion.
The legal exercise could prove moot because Brossett likely is still unable to post bond and secure his release, said one of his attorneys, Michelle Tuegel.
“We respect the decisions of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the 10th Court of Appeals, and we are pleased to see the 10th Court of Appeal’s decision is basically going to be the final decision on the bond issue,” Tuegel said. “But I don’t think this will result in the release of our client because he has been sitting in jail and unable to work for this period of time. It’s hard to own and operate a business when you are sitting in jail.”
Neither Reyna nor his first assistant, Michael Jarrett, returned phone messages left at their office Wednesday.
Brossett, of Arlington, is charged with capital murder in the July 2015 death of Laura Patschke, with whom he once had a dating relationship.
Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against the 49-year-old Brossett, who they said confessed to the crime.
Brossett was free at the time of Patschke’s death on two bonds related to stalking and violating a protective order involving Patschke.
He also is charged with shooting Patschke’s 18-year-old son, Trevor, in the arm during the early-morning incident at their home in Crawford.
Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court set Brossett’s bond at $5 million and declined to reduce it during a hearing in November.
Tuegel and Walter M. Reaves Jr., Brossett’s other attorney, appealed Johnson’s ruling.
No trial date has been set for Brossett, who had been jailed for 387 days as of Wednesday.
Tuegel said prosecutors still are waiting for the results of forensic testing, including DNA and ballistics.
At the previous bond hearing, Reyna told the court it was not by chance that Brossett drove from Arlington to Crawford that Sunday night or early Monday morning, when Trevor and his younger brother and sister had just returned to their mother’s home from a holiday visit with their father. Brossett intended to kill the whole family, Reyna said.
Brossett parked his truck about a mile from Patschke’s home on Bosque Ridge Boulevard and walked through the woods, Reyna said.
He got lost along the way, and it took him more than two hours to reach Patschke’s house, Reyna said.
In arguing against the bond reduction, Reyna told the judge that Brossett sent Patschke more than 200 harassing text messages on the day he was freed from jail the last time.
Because of the harassment, Patschke’s sons slept with loaded weapons near their beds because they were aware of Brossett’s violent nature, Reyna said.
Brossett kicked open a door and went to Patschke’s bedroom and fired a shot at her, Reyna said. The boys came running from their rooms with guns, and Brossett shot Trevor Patschke in the arm, Reyna said.
As their sister hid in her room, the boys fled the house, Reyna said. Brossett then returned and fired two more shots at Patschke, striking the 48-year-old at close range with his 12-gauge shotgun, Reyna said.
Brossett had a flashlight taped onto his shotgun barrel and went outside to look for the children to “finish what he had started,” the district attorney said.
Brossett later found the keys to Patschke’s car, which he drove to where he had parked his truck, Reyna said. Brossett left her car and drove his truck to the Fort Worth area, where authorities arrested him, Reyna said.
Brossett served three years in prison after pleading guilty to assault-family violence with bodily injury in 2003 and has a 1997 conviction for violating a protective order. He has three other arrests relating to violence against women dating back to 1987, prosecutors said.