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Hidden Bond Conditions Putting Texas Domestic Violence Victims In Danger

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Erica Wilson's abusive relationship with her husband, Kevin, came to a head in June 2018.

This was not the first time Kevin had hit Erica. But this time, according to police records, Kevin also "crashed his motor vehicle into her hitting her in the legs causing pain and serious bodily injury."

Erica said she thought she was going to be killed.

"I didn't think it was going to be over until he killed me," she said.

Arlington Police arrested Kevin for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Erica Wilson
Erica Wilson (CBS 11)

Erica said he was hoping that night would be the last time she would have to see her estranged husband.

But while awaiting his trial, Kevin was released on bond. The conditions of his bond included "do not contact the victim, Erica Wilson, in any manner."

However, one day Kevin showed up at Erica's house in Fort Worth.

Erica called police expecting officers to arrest him for violating his bond, but when officers arrived, they did not arrest Kevin.

Officers had no way of accessing Kevin's conditions of bond on their patrol vehicle's computers, so there was little they could do.

When officers left, Erica said, Kevin tried to burn the house down.

"If they would have known and it was in the system and they could see it, they would have taken him and removed him from the premise and it would have turned out a whole other way," Erica said.

In September, Kevin pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Kevin Wilson
Kevin Wilson

Texas lawmakers had a chance to ensure others would not be left in similar dangerous situations but failed.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 1804 that would require conditions of bond to be entered into a statewide database. That way every Texas police officer could look up conditions of bond on their computer.

"As a survivor of domestic violence I can say this bill will save lives," Erica said at a hearing in Austin on the bill.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the bill but Governor Greg Abbott vetoed it.

Abbott said he supported the bill "until someone slipped in an ill-considered giveaway to a radioactive waste disposal facility."

Just before the bill was given final approval, State Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, added an amendment that would allow a low-level radioactive waste facility in West Texas to delay paying millions of dollars in fees to the state.

"They say it (adding the amendment) was ill-advised. No, what was ill-advised was the Governor vetoing the bill," Rep. Nevárez said.

The Eagle Pass lawmaker acknowledged his amendment had nothing to do with the topic of the domestic violence bill and is sorry the bill was vetoed, but he told the CBS 11 News I-Team he does not regret adding the amendment.

"I didn't do anything wrong," he explained. "I did what the rules allowed me to do. The Governor should have signed the bill. The bigger question is asking the governor what compelled you to veto a bill when there was something so important on it."

State Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez
State Rep. Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez speaks with Brian New. (CBS 11)

Rep. Nevárez said he was surprised Gov. Abbott vetoed it because two years prior Abbott did not block a bill that allowed a similar tax incentive for the same radioactive waste facility in Andrews County.

Abbott's office said the Governor had to veto the bill because the tax incentive amendment was not germane to the original bill.

Last month, the Governor's Office sent a letter to Department of Public Safety requesting the department work to figure out a way its current statewide crime information system can include conditions of bond until lawmakers can try and pass the bill again when they next meet in 2021.

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