EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The two brothers charged in a shooting that left a migrant man dead and a migrant woman wounded have had their bonds reduced.
According to Marfa Public Radio, District Judge Roy Ferguson agreed to lower the bonds from $250,000 to $50,000 for Mark Sheppard and $75,000 for Mike Sheppard.
Mike Sheppard was a warden at the troubled West Texas Detention Facility, where he faced abuse allegations, and Mark Sheppard worked for the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office.
After posting separate $250,000 bonds, the Sheppard twins again were taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Sept. 27 shooting. They were held on new $250,000 bonds, Marfa Public Radio reported.
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The two victims were part of a large group that stopped at a water reservoir a few miles south of Sierra Blanca, Texas. Mike Sheppard allegedly shot at them while hunting for game.
Marfa Public Radio reported on Thursday that during the virtual hearing — the brothers appearing separately from the Brewster and Presidio County jails — defense attorneys claimed the bond requirements were “illegal and oppressive.” At the same time, a prosecutor warned against lowering the bond amounts, saying, “What they did is horrible,” and “they’re a huge danger to the public.”
The survivors of the shooting were in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at two El Paso-area detention facilities, but they were released Monday evening, according to Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, which is representing seven of the migrants.
Marisa Limon Garza, executive director of Las Americas, told Border Report on Monday that they are seeking a U visa certification for all the “victim-witnesses,” adding that they can be supportive of this investigation.
A U visa allows victims of crimes like trafficking or domestic abuse who are unauthorized immigrants to remain in the country if they are helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
Before their release, Border Report reached out to ICE for the status of the detainees. A spokeswoman acknowledged Border Report’s request but did not respond.
Limon said her organization is expecting the migrants to be able to remain in the United States for now.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the fatal shooting. A DPS spokesman on Monday said the investigation is ongoing and no new information is available.