Daily News & More in Hemphill is reporting that a Sabine County murder suspect has been released on bond despite the District Attorney pleading that it continue to be denied. However, it appears that orders from the Governor’s Office regarding Coronavirus that were shot down by the Texas Appellate Court is the reasoning for bond being approved.
24-year-old Matthew Hoy Edgar is currently under Grand Jury indictment on a charge of murder regarding the Halloween 2020 death of 19-year-old Livye Lewis. Investigators say Lewis died as the result of a shot from a rifle to her neck and upper body.
Edgar had been jailed with bond denied, but that changed on Tuesday when he was released from the Sabine County Jail under a $50,000.00 bond. District Attorney Kevin Dutton released a statement on Wednesday saying that the 1st Judicial District Court in Sabine County held a hearing on the defendant's motion to release Edgar on bail. Dutton said he objected, but bond was set at $50,000.00 by State District Judge Craig Mixson.
Dutton said in his statement, ”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.”
Dutton cited an order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott when he realized that the pandemic would cause delays laboratories processing crime related evidence and also the illness potentially impacting the ability of a Grand Jury to convene.
According to Dutton, the Governor signed an executive order 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.
However, according to Dutton 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.
Dutton said regardless, the state will move forward and he’s requesting that the pace be picked up. “Although I am upset with this set back, the case remains against the Defendant and our office has requested an expedited trial date so that justice will be served”, said Dutton.
The following is the full statement from Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton:
"Our office sought to keep Edgar incarcerated until trial. The District Attorney's office had requested that no bail be granted to the Defendant in this case and that is what transpired until the last bond hearing.
On Tuesday, April 6, 2021 the 1st Judicial District Court in Sabine County, Texas held a hearing on Defendant's Motion to Release Matthew Edgar on bail. After hearing evidence and arguments of the attorneys, the District Judge set Matthew Edgar's bail at $50,000 over the objection of the District Attorney's office. 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.
The Texas Governor realized that the pandemic would cause delays with the labs and that social distancing would limit the ability of the grand jury to meet. He entered an executive order that waived the 90-day requirement, however the Texas Appellate court ruled that the Governor could not do this and ordered that persons not indicted before the 90-day deadline be released on a surety or person recognizant bond.
Although I am upset with this set back, the case remains against the Defendant and our office has requested an expedited trial date so that justice will be served.”