Judge says no bail for Pinellas DUI Manslaughter fugitive Garret - WFLA News Channel 8

Judge says no bail for Pinellas DUI Manslaughter fugitive Garrett Bruce

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Garrett Bruce mug shot Garrett Bruce mug shot
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Garrett Bruce faced a Pinellas judge Tuesday morning for the first time since he fled to Texas with his family to avoid facing trial on charges of DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide stemming from a fatal crash in Tarpon Springs in 2011.

Bruce told the judge he had no money and no longer has a private attorney representing him. The judge appointed a public defender and ordered Bruce held without bond.

Patricia Walker, the mother of the victim who died in the fatal Tarpon Springs crash at the root of this case, expressed relief at Bruce's return to Pinellas County to face justice. "I'm glad he's back in his hometown,"Walker said.

Bruce triggered a nationwide alert when he vanished last month along with his wife and two young sons. Federal Marshals caught up with Bruce near Houston at a travel trailer repair shop.

By then he had shaved his head to alter his appearance.

His wife does not face charges for any role she might have played in Bruce's escape after he removed a GPS ankle monitor and headed to Texas.

An Eight On Your Side investigation that began last August has detailed how Bruce has won delay after delay in his criminal prosecution. 

At one point, Bruce's lawyer told Pinellas Circuit Judge R. Timothy Peters there was a plea deal in the works when no such deal was on the table. Bruce was supposed to stand trial the next day, but Peters agreed to delay the proceeding. Bruce has received several more trial postponements from Peters since then for various other reasons.

Now that a Pinellas public defender must take over, Bruce will likely win even more delays in his case to allow time for his next lawyer to prepare a defense. 

Patricia Walker said she's happy Bruce is behind bars with little prospect of getting out of jail before his trial, but just wishes the case would reach a conclusion. Bruce has a hearing set for March 21, but there is no trial date on the calendar.

"I can't wait to tell my [deceased] son that we've finally gotten justice," Walker said. "And he can go rest."

Related Content: It could take months to extradited Garrett Bruce

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