Judge denies bail reduction for soldier accused in Arlington Walgreens killing

Ricci Chambless Bradden
Ricci Chambless Bradden Handout photo

A judge refused on Thursday to reduce the bail for a 22-year-old soldier accused of fatally wounding an Arlington gym owner who confronted him in a Walgreens parking lot in May.

Ricci Chambless Bradden II of Fort Hood, and previously of Dallas, remains in the Tarrant County Jail on charges of murder and aggravated assault of a family member with a deadly weapon.

His bail totals $515,000.

Bradden is accused of killing Anthony Lee “T.J.” Antell Jr., 35, a former U.S. Marine, chef and owner of CrossFit Abattoir on South Cooper Street.

Moments before Antell was shot, police have said, Bradden pulled a gun and wounded his wife, Quinisha Johnson, 22. She was an employee of the south Arlington Walgreens.

Antell tried to stop Bradden from fleeing, which led to their fatal encounter, police have said.

On Thursday, Bradden’s attorney, Peter Schulte, did not dispute the bail amount for the aggravated assault charge, but said $500,000 bail on the murder charge was excessive.

State District Judge Louis Sturns also rejected a request from prosecutor Catherine Simpson to increase the bail on the aggravated assault charge.

After the hearing, Schulte said that although he was not able to get Sturns to reduce the bail, he was able to elicit testimony that may help his case when it goes to trial.

Schulte has raised the possibility that he may use the “castle doctrine” in the case. Under a 2007 Texas law often called the castle doctrine, a person can legally use deadly force if someone unlawfully enters or tries to use force to enter that person’s occupied home, vehicle or workplace.

“T.J. interjected himself into this situation.” Schulte said. “A person who sees this happen should not have interjected themselves. They should have called 911. These are facts, sworn testimony that’s now on the record.”

Antell’s wife, Crystal, testified that she and her three children do not feel safe now, even with Bradden in jail.

“It made my children afraid,” she said. “I have concerns about my and my children’s safety. We cannot go into a store without thinking what if someone comes in shooting. .”

Antell said she and the children were waiting as her husband went into the Walgreens. He came out after several shots were fired and reached for his handgun in their vehicle.

Her husband displayed his gun and yelled for a man in a car to stop and get out. The car stopped, Crystal Antell said.

“The minute [Bradden] got out of the car, he stood there,” she said. “I felt strange because he was still, calm. And then [Bradden] shot him and shot him again. And then he calmly goes back to his car.”

Johnson testified that if Bradden gets out of jail, even if he is required to wear an electronic monitor and is ordered to stay away from her, she still will not feel safe.

Johnson used a crutch and wore a leg brace as she walked to the stand.

“If he gets released, I’m afraid he’ll come after me,” Johnson said.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3