HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A lawsuit filed against Harris County names 26 judges and magistrates, claiming they handed out personal recognizance bonds to violent offenders. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Brian Mazzola filed the lawsuit on behalf of Melanie Infinger.
The case that prompted the filing of the lawsuit is that of Alex Guajardo, who is accused of stabbing his pregnant wife to death in Pasadena in 2019.
Aug. 3, 2019, is a day that will forever live in the memory of Infinger.
"I fell to my knees and just screamed, 'What did he do to my baby?'" Infinger said.
Investigators said Guajardo, who was 22 at the time of the stabbing, was out on bond for two crimes when he attacked his wife (Infinger's daughter), 20-year-old Caitlynne Guajardo. They said he stabbed her 20 times at their home in the 1900 block of Southmore Avenue. Caitlynne Guajardo was 17 weeks pregnant at the time. The child did not survive.
Guajardo was arrested at the scene and, according to authorities, he told police he intentionally stabbed her in the stomach to make sure that if she lived no one else could raise his child. He is charged with murder in connection with the case.
Guajardo was out on two PR bonds. One was for a DWI a few months before the stabbing and the second was for torturing and killing the couple's cat and assaulting his pregnant wife only days before he killed her, authorities said.
"The very people that promised to protect my daughter ... promised to protect the public ... and they basically just slapped him on the wrist and let him out to kill my daughter and her unborn child," Infinger said.
Infinger said Guajardo recorded the audio of the crime on a voice message to Caitlynne's best friend.
"While he was murdering Caitlynne, in the act, like, right before it started until the time it ended, he called my daughter's best friend and said, 'Here, Caitlynne wants to talk to you.' And the entire murder is on a voicemail. Her best friend woke up to that voicemail the next morning," Infinger said.
What is a PR bond?
A PR bond is different from other ways people are released from jail because a bail amount is set and then waived, so the defendant doesn't actually pay for a cash bond or post property as collateral for bail. It's based on a promise that the person who was arrested will appear at all court hearings.
Caitlynne's family and the attorneys who filed the lawsuit are hoping to change the system.
"As long as the law stays the way it is in Harris County it is going to continue to happen. It's not rocket science. If you don’t have accountability for crime, people are going to continue to commit crime," Mazzola said.
Infinger is working with Sen. Paul Bettencourt on a bail reform bill in Caitlynne's honor.
"We can’t have violent criminals roaming the streets and ravaging the community and putting innocent lives at stake," Crump said. "We are not talking about non-violent offenders. We are not talking about low-level criminal allegations. We are talking about violent offenders who have a recorded history of committing violent crimes."
The Harris County Attorney's Office said it can't comment on the case.
Guajardo remains in the county jail and is scheduled to go to trial later this year.