PALO PINTO, Texas - A North Texas murder suspect was released on a personal recognizance bond after it was determined he would have to have surgery that would cost the county "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Lonneil Javon White has been charged with murder in the death of Richard Grajeda on Jan. 2. Investigators say White shot Grajeda after the two got into an argument.
White was arrested in Dallas County weeks later, before being taken to the Palo Pinto County Jail and held on $750,000 bond.
When Palo Pinto District Attorney Kriste Burnett began investigating the case, White brought up the possibility of self-defense in the case. Her office determined the case would not be able to be presented to a grand jury in February.
White's doctor also found that White needed surgery for an undisclosed injury "within a week."
This would have cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Burnett, including paying for jailers and deputies to guard White at the hospital. She said the cost would be more than half of the county's budget for inmate health care for 2019.
White was then released on a personal recognizance bond, which is a written promise that he will show up to court without having to pay the $750,000 bond
"Weighing all these factors and keeping in mind a prosecutor’s duty to see justice done, the decision was made to release Mr. White on a personal recognizance bond with bond conditions including weekly reporting to our local probation office," Burnett said in a statement.
Burnett released the following statement about White's release:
As a District Attorney, my legal and ethical duty is to see justice done. The investigation into this case is ongoing and we knew we would not be able to present the case to grand jury this month. During the investigation, the accused has raised the issue of self-defense. When we do present the case to the grand jury, we will present all of the evidence brought out during the investigation, including any that may point towards a self-defense claim. If the grand jury believes that self-defense was justified, that would likely result in the case being no billed. If raised at a jury trial, unless the jury found beyond a reasonable doubt that self-defense was not appropriate, that claim would result in the accused being found not guilty.
It was recently brought to my attention that the doctor providing care to Mr. White wanted to go forward with surgery within a week and believed that the surgery being performed in this time frame was necessary. This treatment would result in costs to the county totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would be more than half of the county’s budget for inmate health care for the entire year. In addition to medical bills, the costs to the county would include paying for jailers or deputies to guard the inmate at the hospital. Weighing all these factors and keeping in mind a prosecutor’s duty to see justice done, the decision was made to release Mr. White on a personal recognizance bond with bond conditions including weekly reporting to our local probation office.