John Healey District Attorney

November 22, 2011 by staff 

John Healey District Attorney, A Fort Bend County man jailed this summer in the 2002 death of his high school baseball buddy was released Monday afternoon following a bail reduction made possible by a prosecutorial oversight.

Richard Mendoza Jr., 26, was arrested on a murder charge in the slaying of 17-year-old Christopher Daigle, who was last seen by friends at a Sugar Land shopping mall nine years ago.

Prosecutors had 90 days from Mendoza’s arrest on Aug. 12 to file formal charges or secure a criminal indictment. They missed the deadline.

According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a defendant detained on a felony charge must be released on a personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required if the state is not ready for trial within 90 days.

Daigle’s relatives were told about the oversight in a meeting last week with Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey Jr. and Lorretta Owen, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the nearly decade-old missing person case.

“It’s just a nightmare. Nine years of waiting for answers, you finally feel like you get a tiny bit of peace and some type of answer and justice is going to be served and it gets taken away from you by ‘oops, I forgot’ – a careless mistake,” said Jennifer Hayes, Daigle’s half-sister, adding that Owen and Healey scoffed when questioned about the lapse. “After all that hard work, they get him and in 90 days, he’s out. He’s getting to go spend Thanksgiving … with his family while we get to mourn another year.”

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