MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- 142nd District Judge, Honorable David G. Rogers, hit pause following a hearing Thursday to decide if accused murder suspect, 24-year-old Mario Chacon Jr., is eligible for a lesser bond. Chacon has been in custody since May 20 on a $3,000,000 bond- he stands accused of murdering 20-year-old Madeline Pantoja last month. The Court is expected to have a decision by Friday morning.
Prior to Chacon’s arrival in court, dozens protested outside the Midland County Courthouse in the hopes of keeping that bond as it currently stands.
In Court, attorneys for the defense called Chacon’s mom to the stand. She said the family cannot come up with the $300,000 to $600,000 needed to bond him out. She asked the court for a bond of $750,000 and a pre-trial release and said the family would “ensure that he appears in court” once a trial date is set.
Chacon’s mother admitted she still has family living in Mexico, but assured the State that Chacon would show up in court- even offering to put up her house and vehicle as collateral.
Defense attorney Steve Hershberger said of Chacon, “My client is innocent…he is innocent as he stands here today, and he’ll be innocent tomorrow. $3,000,000 bond is simply too high.”
Hersberger also asked for a $750,000 bond, drug testing, and house arrest until trial.
However, the State argued that Chacon has an “extensive criminal history” with a conviction for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. He’s also considered a “potential flight risk”, argued Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Lively, because of the family’s “prominent ties to Mexico”. Should the bond be lowered, the State asked for numerous conditions to be placed on Chacon upon his release to ensure he comes to court.
Pantoja’s family said they want justice and want Chacon behind bars until trial.
We will update once the Court has reached a decision.