MINERAL WELLS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A 29-year-old murder suspect, who at six-feet-six inches tall goes by the nickname “Too Tall,” turned out to be too expensive to keep in jail.
Palo Pinto County released Lonneil White on a personal recognizance bond after a doctor decided he needed surgery the county determined would cost more than its budget could handle.
White is the only suspect in the shooting death of Richard Grajeda, after an argument January 2 in Mineral Wells.
Though his original recommended bond was $750,000, he did not have to post any money for his release.
Palo Pinto County District Attorney Kriste Burnett wrote in a statement to CBS 11 Tuesday that White will be required to check in weekly with a local probation office.
Justice of the Peace Todd Baker, who signed off on the release, did not respond Wednesday to requests for more details of White’s bond conditions.
Burnett said she was made aware of the need for surgery recently, which she said would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would be more than half the county’s budget for inmate health care for the financial year.
The Mineral Wells Index, which first reported White’s release, reported the county had budgeted $180,000 for those costs this year.
Burnett also wrote White had raised the issue of self-defense in his case, and suggested it was possible a grand jury, or jury in a trial, might find the claim justified resulting in no indictment or conviction.
“Weighing all these factors and keeping in mind a prosecutor’s duty to see justice done, the decision was made to release Mr. White,” she wrote.
An arrest warrant from Dallas County notes that when White was arrested at a Dallas apartment complex, two weeks after the shooting, he was taken to Parkland hospital.
A criminal complaint says White’s wife, April, told a Texas Ranger that White and Grajeda had been in an argument outside White’s home. She said Grajeda grabbed a brick, and White then pulled out a gun.
White then walked Grajeda into the road, she said, and the fired two shots. Both men then got into cars and drove away from the scene. Police later found Grajeda dead, kneeling on the ground outside his car.