San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

by BRAD ROLLINS

Steven Carlos Hernandez, the 20-year-old local accused in a high-profile robbery that ended with the shooting of a San Marcos store clerk, was arrested in court this morning after State District Judge Bill Henry revoked a personal recognizance bond and restored bail previously set at $75,000.

Following his arrest on Sept. 25 on a charge of first-degree felony aggravated robbery, Hernandez was released Dec. 18 under a state law that requires bond reduction for incarcerated felony defendants when prosecutors do not secured an indictment from a grand jury within 90 days of arrest. San Marcos police think Hernandez shot 25-year-old Patrick Reilly during the bungled robbery of the Gotta Habit Smoke Shop on Sept. 21; Reilly’s condition was listed as critical at one point but he survived a wound to his chest.

On Tuesday, a newly impaneled Hays County grand jury returned an indictment, and Hays County Assistant District Attorney Katie McVaney moved on Wednesday morning that bail be increased. That afternoon, Henry re-set bail at $75,000, but allowed a hearing during a docket call this morning when Hernandez’ attorney, Chevo Pastrano, protested that the state’s motion should not have been granted ex parte without defense counsel having opportunity to object.

Hernandez was taken into custody today when bail was left at $75,000, which the defendant was unable to pay. He also entered a not guilty plea and asked the court to set a trial date, Pastrano said.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that a defendant charged with a felony “must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required, if the state is not ready for trial of the criminal action for which he is being detained within 90 days.” The “ready for trial” clause is generally interpreted to mean that the defendant must be indicted within three months of his arrest, Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said.

Mau, who began a four-year term district attorney on Jan. 2, said he did not know if Hernandez’s case had been previously presented to a grand jury. A new grand jury was impaneled this month for a six-month term. Former district attorney Sherri Tibbe has declined to discuss why Hernandez was not indicted last fall following his arrest.

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