CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — UPDATE:
Elizabeth Tagle with the District Attorney's office has withdrawn the plea agreement for former CCISD bus driver Marlon Frazier. In a hearing on Thursday, Tagle said the DA's office is now asking for a jury trial.
Judge David Stith with the 319th District Court will now set a pre-trial hearing as well as a jury trial for Frazier's case.
Former CCISD bus driver Marlon Frazier will return to court Thursday after a judge rejected what she considered a lenient plea deal offered to him by the Nueces County District Attorney's Office.
Frazier was indicted in 2019 after being arrested on five counts of possession of child pornography, attempted online solicitation of a minor and attempted possession of child pornography. The charges arose after screenshots of inappropriate text messages he sent to a Kaffie Middle School student surfaced. Screenshots of child pornography were also found in his possession.
The 59-year-old's case is being heard in the 319th District Court, however neither presiding judge David Stith was unable to to attend Thursday, nor the prosecutor. Because the prosecutor wasn't there to justify the deal, Judge Melissa Madrigal rescheduled the hearing.
"Without hearing more from the prosecutor as to why, it's not a plea bargain I would accept," she said.
The deal offered by the DA's office includes:
- dismissing the five felony counts of child pornography possession
- the sixth count, attempt to commit online solicitation of a minor, would be reduced to charges of attempted possession or promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child — a misdemeanor
- time served
- he would not be required to register as a sex offender
- he would be required to have no further contact with the victim
KRIS 6 News contacted assistant district attorney Angelica Hernandez about the deal. She responded with this statement:
"I can't comment while case is pending. The attorney Liz Tagle is in trial. We can address questions after the plea."
We also reached out to CCISD and communications director Leanne Libby issued this statement:
"Safety is always top priority for CCISD, and the district takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously. We cannot comment on personnel or legal matters."
American Federation of Teachers-Corpus Christi President Nancy Vera said that, although her union exists to champion and support school employees, it also will call them out when they've done wrong.
She called the plea deal a "sin" and "asinine," and called for the courts to impose "severe" punishment on anyone who hurts a child.
"We need courts who will impose severe sentences to people who take advantage of our children," she said. "And there's no excuse for that. That makes me so angry! We need to do better!"
The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.