Loved ones seek justice in Harker Heights murder case

Emani Payne reports.

HARKER HEIGHTS - A Copperas Cove man accused of killing his girlfriend back in 2016 is walking the streets Tuesday night and the victim's loved ones are outraged. Matthew Stoddard is accused of killing Angelica Santiago in their Harker Heights apartment in 2016. Santiago's best friend Britnee Strickland said the pair had a troubled relationship for years and said there is no doubt in her mind that he's behind her friends death.

Stoddard allegedly told officers he was in the bathroom with the victim when she grabbed a gun and shot herself. Investigators initially believed Angelica's death was a suicide, but later ruled it a homicide after finding two gunshot wounds. 
 
Stoddard turned himself in last year after learning he was wanted in connection to the crime. He faced a $1 million bond which was later lowered to $150,000.  The reduction allowed him to bond out in April and he's been free on bond since. The significant reduction in bond amount alarmed those close to Santiago however Channel 6 Legal Expert Liz Mitchell says it's not out of the ordinary. 
 
"They have to show there's a potential risk to the community or that the defendant is a flight risk, if those factors can't be proved a 150 thousand dollar bond is pretty much on schedule for someone who's been charged with murder even if they have a prior conviction," Mitchell said.
 
The victims loved ones said they are frustrated the case has yet to go to trial and said the suspect shouldn't be free to walk the streets.    
 
"It makes my skin crawl, how can he act like he didn't do anything and put up this front like he loved her so much. I want the process to move a lot faster and I want to get him behind bars that's all I want, her parents can't even grieve her death," Strickland said.
 
When asked about the delay in the case staff with the District Attorneys Office told Channel 6 the following: 
 
"Additional forensic testing was required in this particular case.  It has recently been completed and the case will be presented in due course to the Bell County grand jury."
 
Conditions of the suspects bond include no access to firearms, no contact with the victims family and random drug testing.
 
A "Justice for Angelica Santiago" page has been started online. You can keep up with the page here.

You can keep up with the separate "Justice for Angelica Santiago" online group here  

 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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