WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - The bond for Joshua Gilbreath was originally set high because of the violent nature of the murder charge he is facing.
However, now he is out because he got a new lawyer and because prosecutors missed a critical deadline.
Gilbreath had been in jail since his arrest back in the middle of August and bond was set at $1 million for the murder of Diana Lynn Pier.
70-year-old Pier was found in early August shot by her car along a roadway near Florence. Gilbreath was arrested after he allegedly told a friend he shot a woman, and that man later notified authorities.
Pier was a familiar face in the community who frequently read to children at the local library and was considered a grandmother to all the kids.
According to court documents, Gilbreath's attorney filed a motion to lower his bond because prosecutors were not ready for trial. Apparently a 90-day deadline to indict Gilbreath was missed. Judge Stacey Matthews set the bond to $250,000.
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"Nothing makes that acceptable. And I don't I can't imagine what possessed them to release him." And I think you will hear nothing but cries from everyone in Florence. In the Florence community, yes, they would be so upset," said Peggy Morse who has a gift shop near the Library.
Several people reacted by posting on the library Facebook page. Regina Hallmark told FOX 7 Austin the court action is like a slap to the face.
"Time heals a lot of things, but it never replaces someone who's important in the community, who worked with the families and the children. So that will hole will always be there," said Hallmark.
Gilbreath's release has conditions. He is under house arrest at his home in Pflugerville and has to wear an ankle monitor. He can only leave for medical reasons, court dates, going to work and church. Any other travel has to be approved by the court.
"I am very confident, and I do not believe that Joshua is a threat to the community in any way whatsoever," said Gilbreath’s attorney Mark Pryor.
District Attorney Shawn Dick sent the following statement to FOX7.
"As District Attorney, I ultimately have the responsibility of seeking justice on each case and insuring that we are doing our job to protect the public. I have policies in place to make sure that each matter is handled timely, professionally, and ethically. In this case, an experienced prosecutor missed a crucial deadline regarding the timely presentation in front of a Grand Jury. That employee is no longer employed in my office. The defendant’s bond was reduced to $250,000 with several conditions to protect the public in the event of his release. The defendant’s family has procured the amount necessary to bond him out. The defendant has been indicted for murder and his case is set for trial at the earliest possible setting which is July 28, 2023.
As the Williamson County District Attorney, it is my highest priority to keep the public safe and we will continue to promote policies and practices to protect the community. As this case is still pending before Judge Mathews in the 277th District Court, I will have no further comment in order to protect the integrity of the trial process."
Joshua Gilbreath is due back in court for a status hearing in January. His trial is set for July.