Victim's family speaks out after manslaughter suspect is released from jail

Victim's family speaks out after manslaughter suspect is released from jail.

ORANGE COUNTY - The family of Jerry Campbell says they are "absolutely blind-sided." During a news conference Friday, children of the victim explained they were never notified of a bond hearing for the man accused in the fatal drunk driving accident that claimed the life of their 77-year-old loved one.

Michael Davis, 38, was released from the Orange County jail Wednesday on a personal recognizance bond because toxicology results have not been returned.

The five children of Campbell choked back tears as they addressed the media at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving office in Beaumont. They hope their push for change in the legal process for manslaughter cases will keep other families dealing with tragedy from enduring any additional pain.

"We don't want any other family to have to go through this," said Cynthia Campbell.

Campbell and her four siblings shared memories of their hardworking father but also say they wanted to address the pain they've felt in the lengthy and complex legal process. They are hoping to find justice in their father's death.

The Campbells say they found out after the fact, that Davis walked out of jail earlier this week. The 38-year-old is accused of driving under the influence in May, hitting and killing Campbell who was working on a fence in Orange County.

"By law victims are supposed to be notified of even bond hearings," said Kathy Bell-Schexnaider with MADD.

The issue is that Davis' toxicology results haven't been returned. Without that piece of evidence, no indictment can be issued. Legally, Davis can't be held on the charge for more than 90 days without an indictment.

Schexneider says alcohol related blood results are usually returned fairly quickly. With controlled substances in question, those results often take a year to be returned.

"Either you need to push the time back to a year, or the legislator needs to get together and fund more machines and more technicians to be able to meet that 90 day period," said Schexneider.

Then there's the intoxication manslaughter charge.

"Someone lost their life the family was affected immensely and this man might get 20 years," said Campbell.

With a legal fight still ahead of them, the Campbells say they will continue to push for change and more victim's rights, so that others impacted by tragedy won't have to endure the same nightmares they have experienced.

"We as a family, along with our friends and community, will continue to stand together and keep going, staying Campbell strong," said Jo Campbell.

The family says they want to thank the first responders who arrived at the crime scene back in May. They also say Orange County District Attorney John Kimbrough has met with them to explain the process. They thank him for his time.

(© 2016 KBMT)


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