Prosecutor warns judge about murder suspect’s bond

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – Bernandino Matias, who was charged in the murder of Austin High School sophomore Tania Rico in October, had his first court appearance Tuesday.

Prosecutors filed a motion that would require Matias to wear a monitoring device if he is released on bond.

He is currently in the Morgan County Jail.

According to court records, a detective with the Decatur Police Department said Matias not only confessed to slitting his girlfriend’s throat, but he also said he has threatened to kill her family and himself.

“There were some talks of self-harm,” explained Mike Swafford of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. “When that takes place we have what we call our suicide watch. They’re separated from general population and they have a increased watch rate.”

It would take $25,000 upfront in order for Matias to be released on bond.

“This individual’s bond $250,000 which traditionally just based on what we see, tends to be harder. These individuals require more upfront either property, cash or someone that’ll vouch. That’s usually harder to do with a higher amount like that.”

If he comes up with that amount, Tuesday’s motion for special bond conditions could allow the county to surveil his whereabouts.

“Should that be the case, once he leaves our building, our business is concluded with him,” Swafford added. “But then our community corrections department would handle the placement of the monitor, the tracking and the upkeep of the monitor while he’s on the outside.”

For now, Matias will continue to be housed in general population in the Morgan County Jail.

That way they can keep tabs on him and monitor his communication with anyone on the outside.

Matias’ preliminary hearing was waived and the case was immediately bound over to a grand jury.

As for the motion for special condition of bond, court records do not show whether it was granted.

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