Bail reduced for Bloomington woman charged with murder
The bond for a Bloomington woman accused of fatally shooting her brother hours before they were to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner was reduced Thursday.
Judge Robert Whitaker reduced Janiemarie Perez Clay's bail from $75,000 to $40,000 after several family members and law enforcement testified during a 90-minute hearing.
Clay, 22, was arrested on suspicion of shooting 17-year-old Richard Rico Deleon at her mobile home in the 400 block of Hedge Street.
Her attorney, Keith Weiser, sought to prove that Clay's family could not realistically obtain the estimated $7,000 that most bondsmen require and that she has nowhere to flee.
Weiser called Clay's mother, Sandra Deleon Ramirez, who told the judge she was at the kitchen table cutting onions, drinking beer and looking at pictures when she heard her son clicking what she assumed was a gun.
Her son was in the living room, and her back was toward him. She told him to put it away.
"My son - he was obsessed with guns since he was little," Ramirez said, adding that he was under the influence of synthetic marijuana at the time. "He kept on saying, 'Mom, it's not loaded. It's not loaded.'"
Clay walked from the kitchen to the living room, Ramirez assumed, to take the gun from her brother. Then, Ramirez heard the shot, screamed and rushed to put pressure on her son's bleeding face while Clay dialed 911.
"She (Clay) was yelling, 'Oh my God. The gun went off,'" she said.
Assistant District Attorney Eddie Wilkinson, meanwhile, pointed out that Ramirez has made inconsistent statements. His line of questioning suggested the family agreed to come up with a story.
After the shooting, Ramirez told a deputy in his patrol car that her son accidentally shot himself, Wilkinson said.
She did not mention then that Clay was trying to take the gun away from Deleon.
"If that were true, wouldn't it have been important to tell them that night?" Wilkinson asked.
"When you bury a son, you try to remember everything that happened," Ramirez said. "Janiemarie doesn't have any motive to do that to her brother."
Victoria County Sheriff's Office Investigator Anthony Daniel testified that Clay told him she was a member of a South Side Locos gang and owned the gun her brother was shot with because she needed protection.
The investigation is ongoing. He is waiting for Deleon's autopsy results as well as trace evidence and ballistic test results.
"From what we've heard today, murder is speculative," Weiser said before Whitaker deliberated.
Wilkinson thought the bond was appropriate given the seriousness of the charge. He said Clay's husband, a rig welder, had enough resources to post bail.
Should Clay post bail, she will be randomly drug tested, must abstain from alcohol or illegal drugs, may not associate with gang members and may not own a firearm. Whitaker is also requiring Ramirez move in with her daughter and supervise her 24 hours a day.
Wilkinson said later that he did not think Ramirez's supervision would be enough because both women have criminal records.