A Texas justice of the peace set a $4 billion bond for a man accused of murder. Newly elected Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown set the bond, the largest in Bell County history and possibly the U.S, reports KCEN-TV in Waco, Tx. County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Chuck Cox said he’s never heard of such a high bond. The highest amount he had previously seen was $1 million.
Antonio Willis, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Donte Samuels, who was found dead, about 70 miles north of Austin. Willis’ lawyer, Billy Ray Hall Jr., said he’s confident the amount will be lowered when he makes the request to a state district judge. Lawyer Jeff Parker said the $4 billion bond could be challenged as unconstitutional. The Constitution’s Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment and specifically refers to protections against excessive bail or fines. Willis’ bond far exceeds the $3 billion amount set for New York real estate heir Robert Durst before an appeals court in 2004 determined it was unconstitutionally excessive and it was lowered to $450,000. Durst had recently been acquitted of killing his neighbor while living in Texas.