The Tuesday release of murder suspect Matthew Hoy Edgar sparked a protest in front of the Sabine County Courthouse in downtown Hemphill on Thursday. Protesters were holding signs and voicing their displeasure that the 24-year-old was granted $50,000.00 in bail during a bond hearing before State District Judge Craig Mixson, and then released from the Sabine County Jail on that bond.

Meanwhile, Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton announced Thursday that he has secured an expedited trial date for the accused killer.

Edgar is currently under Grand Jury indictment on a murder charge for shooting and killing 19-year-old Livye Lewis on Halloween of 2020. The girl was found in a vehicle with rifle shots through her neck and chest. Edgar was arrested shortly thereafter and had been held with bond denied.

The protest comes a day after District Attorney Kevin Dutton released a statement saying that although he was opposed to bond being granted, he understood that the court was within the law to do so. ”Although I do not agree on the granting of the bond, I do believe the court was following the law and changes in the law”, said Dutton.

The DA was referring to an executive order from Governor Greg Abbott last year which waived the 90-day period that the state had to bring forth an indictment on a person after they had been arrested and were jailed. The order was issued because Abbott feared that the spread of Coronavirus would greatly slow down the judicial system.

However, the Texas Appellate Court shot down that order, ruling that the Governor could not do that. Dutton said the court ordered that suspects who are not indicted before the 90-day deadline be released on a surety or personal recognizance bond.

On Wednesday Dutton vowed that he would seek an expedited trial date and on Thursday he announced that he had done just that, with the trial set to begin on Monday, July 12th.

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