Story by: Hannah Dellinger
Liliana Segovia’s abuser broke into her League City home and beat her while he was out on bond for a family assault charge, according to court records.
“He beat me in front of my 4-year-old daughter, who is traumatized,” said Segovia. “He knows he can do these things and continue to assault other women because he has never served a day in jail.”
Segovia, along with other survivors, rallied in front of the Harris County 309th District Court on Tuesday with Houston immigrant rights group FIEL to denounce the inconsistencies in the way the local court systems handle domestic violence cases. Survivors said the criminal justice system has failed to protect them.
“The issue of domestic violence is something that affects the community at large, but in particular, communities that are disadvantaged and communities of color,” said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL. “We are calling on all levels of government to protect these victims and help them to live the lives they deserve to live.”
Segovia’s ex, Jordan Arnett, has been bonded out of the Galveston County Jail 11 times— nine times in her case and twice in a case involving another alleged victim, court records show.
Arnett was convicted of assaulting Segovia on Aug. 9, 2017, but served no time in jail. A couple of months later, he was charged with violating Segovia’s protective order by threatening and harassing her, according to a criminal complaint, but the case was dismissed. On Sept. 21, 2018, Arnett was charged with violating the protective order again. That case is still pending.
On Sept. 12, 2019, Arnett was charged with assaulting another woman and was released the same day after posting a bond of $2,500, court records show. While out on bond, Arnett was arrested after break-in at Segovia’s home on Aug. 13 and charged with burglary of a habitation, a second-degree felony. He was released from jail the next day after posting a $15,000 bond.
Segovia’s case is not a one-off. Of the 150 women killed by domestic violence in Texas in 2019, 27 percent were slain by abusers with a history of domestic violence. Of those cases, 11 women either had protective orders in place against their abusers or had filed an application for one, according to a database compiled by the nonprofit Texas Council on Family Violence.
Nationally, one fifth of women killed by their partners who had temporary protective orders in place against their abusers were murdered within two days of securing the order, a 10-city 2008 study found. One third were killed within the first month. Almost half of those women had multiple protective orders in place.
Mindy Miguez said no one told her that her abuser was being released from jail in May. She said she realized he was out because the stalking and harassment started again.
“I do have a permanent protective order on him, but that has not stopped him,” said Miguez.
Now that he has an ankle monitor, Miguez said her abuser still harasses her through social media.
Because Richard Anderson III, Miguez’ ex-husband, had previously been convicted of assaulting a female intimate partner in 2012 in Harris County, he originally faced the felony charge of assault-family violence second offense.
“Because he has a lengthy, violent criminal record, he was facing two to 10 years for what he did to me,” said Miguez.
But this month Miguez noticed that a plea deal had been arranged for Anderson. The charge was brought down to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 27 days in jail, which he had already served and his ankle monitor was removed.
“I don’t want this to happen to another victim,” said Miguez. “It’s not OK for them to let repeat offenders go on lesser charges. It put myself and our two boys in danger of him potentially coming after us and harming us or killing us.”
Miguez said she is standing up to call on the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, judges and other local leaders to bring abusers to justice and to prevent fatal domestic violence.
“Enough is enough,” she said. “Who are you protecting? The abuser? Or the victims?”