DALLAS - The father of a 14-year-old accused of a triple murder at a Garland convenience store was in a Dallas County courtroom Friday.
But the teen accused of the crime, seen on surveillance video letting bullets rip inside the store, is still on the run.
Friday’s hearing was supposed to be a bond reduction hearing for Richard Acosta, the father of triple murder suspect 14-year-old Abel Acosta, but it did not go the way the defense attorney had planned.
A hybrid in-person/Zoom bond reduction hearing was held for Richard, who is accused of driving his son to and from a Garland Texaco to open fire inside the store, killing three people and injuring a fourth.
Richard is facing three counts of capital murder and a $3 million bond.
The judge asked if the defense had any witnesses, but attorney Heath Harris did not go forward, telling the court he planned to call family to testify they cannot come up with even $100,000 bond, but they would not testify.
"They are not going to testify," Harris said. "They are afraid of retaliation, your honor, and don’t want to testify at this stage."
Harris kept Richard from testifying after learning the state says he's a flight risk, with family or other connections in Mexico.
"We don't believe there is proof that he knew the shooting was going to take place," Harris said.
He also told the judge he wants an examining trial after Garland police files its case.
Attorney Anthony Farmer is not part of the defense. He explained what the defense is trying to do with its case.
"If the state is not able to meet the standard of probable cause against the accused, well, then the case is essentially tossed out," he said.
Harris told reporters Richard did not see the shooting happen and did not know what his son was planning.
"We're hoping, in the meantime, if the son turns himself in or is captured, then he can corroborate that the father did not know. He had no idea," Harris added.
Harris said he has no idea where Abel is hiding, who is helping him, or if he is in Mexico.
"I represent Richard Acosta," he said. "I don't know anything about Abel Acosta, other than what’s alleged, what I saw in surveillance video."
Harris said he wants an examining trial so he can further try and prove that his client didn’t know the shooting was going to happen.
He also said he wants the 14-year-old to turn himself in so he can corroborate this and clear his father.