crimesider

District Attorney's office forgets to indict murder suspect, accused man walks free

gavel, stock
Flickr/Brian Turner
(CBS) RICHMOND, Texas. - A 26-year-old Texas man walked out of jail Monday because the District Attorney forgot to file paperwork for his indictment.

FOX News reports that Richard Mendoza is accused of kiling his 17-year-old friend, Christopher Diagle in 2002 near Missouri City while on a hunting trip.

The Fort Bend County District Attorney's Office forgot to get an indictment within the 90-day-window of his arrest, and consequently Mendoza  was let out of jail Monday before his arraignment.

During the fatal hunting trip in Nov. 2002, Diagle's family says Mendoza thought his friend was flirting with his girlfriend, so he shot him in the back of the head.

The New York Daily News reports that the case went unsolved for years, until Diagle's bones were finally discovered in the hunting field on Aug 12. 2011. After DNA proved it was Diagle, Mendonza was immediately arrested.

District Attorney John Healey admitted he made a huge mistake and has taken full responsibility for it.

"It is a mistake that shouldn't have been made, but it's a long road between now and the time the defendant is going to be in front of 12 citizens of Fort Bend County," Healey said.

The DA said that even though Mendoza is out on bond, they have put his trial on the fast track, and he could end up behind bars for good. The suspect was fitted with an electric monitoring bracelet before being released.

The victim's family is extremely upset with the news of the District Attorney's mistake.

"I don't understand how that can happen on something very important like a murder. If it was their child, they wouldn't have forgotten," said Diagle's mother.

Mendoza will be monitored by the bracelet, satellite, and will be barred from contact with Diagle's family. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 15.

  • Crimesider Staff

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.