A man accused of a Pasadena murder is now fighting for his own life while behind bars in the Harris County Jail because of liver cirrhosis, his attorney told KPRC 2.
Eric Cano, 40, is indicted for murder and awaiting trial, accused of fatally shooting Rojelio Ramirez twice in the face in October 2020 after the men had been drinking and got in a fight, according to court documents.
But Cano spent the last month and a half in the hospital with a failing liver. He was discharged back to the jail earlier this week after doctors decided no additional treatments could help him and gave him two weeks to live, his attorney Wade Smith said.
“This man is completely and utterly bedridden,” Smith said, adding that Cano has other organs failing and internal bleeding. “This man is obviously no safety threat to any community. He can’t even get out of bed on his own.”
Cano’s condition is so bad that he couldn’t make it to the courtroom on Wednesday when his attorneys argued he should be released to die at home in hospice care.
After he was arrested in Oct. 2020, Cano posted his original $250,000 bond and spent nearly two years free while awaiting trial.
But last July, after his attorney said he showed up to all scheduled court appearances and had no bond violations, Judge Ramona Franklin quadrupled Cano’s bond to $1 million and brought him back into custody.
“The judge must have taken a look at the entirety of his criminal history and made a decision and judges have to make tough decisions,” Crime Stoppers victim services director Andy Kahan said. “Mr. Ramirez’s family, they will never ever see him.”
In Aug. 2020, the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Franklin, alleging that Judge Franklin would “without notice, without cause, and in violation of the law and the defendant’s Constitutional rights, revoke their bonds on her own motion with no new information whatsoever and order them remanded back into custody,” according to a copy of the complaint provided to KPRC 2.
Due to strict statutory confidentiality rules, the state commission would not confirm or deny that the complaint was filed, and would not comment on the results of any investigation without the issuance of public discipline, executive director Jacqueline Habersham wrote in an email to KPRC 2.
At Wednesday’s hearing in Cano’s, Smith asked Franklin to reinstate his initial bond, which has already been posted, or to set a new bond that his family could afford, both options with the goal of getting him released.
But Smith said Franklin denied those options, instead suggesting he come up with a place where Cano can go and a plan to be presented to her. That’s an option Smith doesn’t see as feasible.
“I feel for that family. It’s tough to lose a loved one. However, that doesn’t make what we’re doing here, right,” Smith said. “We wouldn’t even treat a dog like this. You wouldn’t take a dying dog and lock him in a cage.”
Cano’s murder trial is set for August, but Smith said he doesn’t believe he’ll make it that long.
Franklin’s office did not return a request for comment on Thursday night.