Bail set at $750,000 for teen accused of killing mom, sister

Posted Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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WEATHERFORD -- A judge rejected arguments Wednesday that a capital murder charge should be dropped against Parker County teen Jake Ryan Evans, who is accused of shooting his mother and 15-year-old sister to death.

Evans' attorney argued that the capital murder charge should be dropped because punishment guidelines that would apply to the teen have been ruled unconstitutional. While denying that motion, state District Judge Graham Quisenberry did accept the defense's request for bail, which he set at $750,000.

Evans' father, Darryl Evans, testified that although he has provided his son some money in jail and bought books for him, he would not put up his own assets to bail Evans out of jail.

"This has been a great tragedy for this whole family," Larry Moore, Evans' court-appointed defense attorney, told reporters after the hearing. "They're trying to put their family back together the best that they can. He's here to support his son but they're not going to make his bond. It doesn't matter if it's $10 or $10 million."

Though Evans initially indicated after his arrest that he did not want to see his family, Moore said the teen now gets regular visits from relatives.

But posting a bond, Moore said, would create a logistical problem for the family.

"If they make his bond, where are they going to put him? Where is he going to go?" Moore said. "It's his sister and his mother that he's alleged to have killed. Until they're able to deal with this and resolve these issues in their own mind, they're just not in a position to say 'Jake, come home and be with us.'"

Evans, wearing a plaid button-down shirt and blue pants, showed little emotion during the trial but repeatedly pulled at his pants leg.

"Jake is doing OK," Moore said later. "This is a lot for a 17-year-old kid. He's under a lot of pressure. You could see in that courtroom that he was uncomfortable. It's just a lot of pressure."

Evans was indicted by a Parker County grand jury last month on one count of capital murder and two counts of murder.

He is accused of fatally shooting his sister, Mallory, and his 48-year-old mother, Jami, in the family's Parker County home Oct. 4, then calling 911 to report what he had done.

"Uh, I just killed my mom and my sister," he told a 911 dispatcher.

"I felt like they were just suffocating me, in a way," he said in the call. "Obviously, you know, I'm pretty, I guess, evil."

Evans, a former student at Aledo High School, has been jailed without bail since.

Wednesday's hearing involved a motion filed by Moore, who argued that the capital murder charge against his client should be dropped because of rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that life without parole for defendants under age 18 is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had already banned death sentences for defendants 17 and younger.

Prosecutors Robert DuBoise and Edward Lewallen argued that the motion was premature since Evans has not gone to trial.

"He hasn't been sentenced to anything. He hasn't been convicted of anything. Any argument is an academic exercise until we get to that point," DuBoise argued.

Prosecutors also pointed out to the judge that a pending state Senate bill would likely fix the sentencing issue before the case goes to trial. Under the bill, defendants under 18 who are convicted of capital murder would be sentenced to life with parole eligibility.

"You can't hold someone in custody, restrain him of his liberty, and say, 'We're going to pass a statute some time -- maybe -- that allows us to punish you for this crime,'" Moore argued before the judge.

The judge declined to hear evidence on the issue.

After the hearing, Moore told reporters that he plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

"I've never had a case where I know I'm right from the very start -- where the Supreme Court has said you can't do this," Moore said. "And so I think that we're going to get that relief at some point."

If the capital murder charge is dropped, Evans can still be tried for murder in the case but would face punishment from five to 99 years or life in prison, Moore said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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