Murder Suspect Goes Free After DA Forgets to Indict Him

One morning not long ago, Fort Bend (Texas) District Attorney John Healey was sitting at his kitchen table and updating his to-do list: "Make pozole for office party? Check. Pay mortgage? Check. Buy dog food? Check. Indict that dude Richard for murder?... Aw, crap."

As the Houston Chronicle reports, Healey's office forgot to file charges against 26-year-old Richard Mendoza Jr.—arrested in connection with the shooting death of his classmate during a 2002 hunting excursion—within the 90-day filing period. According to the rules, Mendoza must now go free—maybe even today. His dead friend's family hopes to greet him outside the jail with a congratulatory bucket of barbecued chicken and a potted plant. Just kidding! His friend's family is incensed.

Should they be? Mendoza's not quite off the hook: He's only free on bond. In addition to being outfitted with a GPS bracelet, he must report to the probation department once a week, can't really go anywhere, and will be arraigned in January. "It's not even close to being over," Healey said about Mendoza's case, as he wrote "take care of Mendoza business" in capital letters on his to-do list. He then drew a row of asterisks to the left of the words and then circled them using a yellow highlighter pen.

[Houston Chronicle]