A judge denied a request from a man charged with murder to reduce his bond at a hearing Friday attended by almost a dozen family members of the victim dressed in matching shirts featuring her picture and a Bible verse.
Because of the potential emotional turmoil created by the family’s presence, 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother conducted the hearing in his chambers.
Abel Reyna, court-appointed to represent Quest Aljabaughn Jones in the murder case, asked Strother to reduce Jones’ $1 million bond, calling the bond amount set by 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson “excessive.”
Friday’s proceeding was the first criminal hearing Reyna, former McLennan County district attorney, has been involved in since he left office at the end of December.
Jones, 28, is charged with murder in the Feb. 3 shooting death of 26-year-old Sherrell Carter while their three young children were in an adjacent room at the home they shared in the 5600 block of Wilshire Drive.
Strother met with prosecutors and Reyna in his office and announced only that he was denying Reyna’s motion to reduce the bond. His announcement was met with “Thank the Lord,” shouted by a member of Carter’s family.
Reyna, who was a criminal defense lawyer before he served two terms as district attorney, works now for the law firm Patterson and Sheridan. He declined to discuss details of his conference in the judge’s chambers.
“While we might disagree with the judge, we certainly respect his decision and we look forward to trial,” Reyna said.
Members of Carter’s family, including her mother, Freda Brown, and sister, Iryon Brown, wore matching green shirts with “Justice for Sherrell Carter” and a verse from John 16 that says, “And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” on the back.
While they declined to discuss the case because it is a pending matter, they said they were there to support their loved one.
According to court documents, Jones called police to his home about 3:30 a.m. Feb. 3. When officers arrived, they reported finding him outside wearing only shorts and socks with blood on his socks and body.
Court records say it was unclear if the children witnessed the murder, but reports indicate Jones told police that an intruder shot Carter and his 3-year-old son witnessed it.
Family members told police Jones has a history of violence toward Carter and that there were several unreported domestic violence incidents during their tumultuous seven-year relationship, according to court documents. Carter tried to break up with Jones several times but returned after Carter threatened her, court records state.
Police also arrested Jones that morning on possession of marijuana and possession of liquid THC charges.