Houston, Texas (KTRK) – As a judge’s decision to lower the bail of a 17-year-old suspect in a Chinatown robbery draws criticism, 13 detectives obtained phone calls at the jail that a source close to the investigation confirmed the suspect made.
Joseph Harel was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated robbery after police said he was caught on camera physically assaulting Nhung Truong, who was left paralyzed from the attack.
In the audio recordings you’ll only hear on ABC13, he’s heard confessing and then complaining that the victim was making money on a GoFundMe while he was sitting in jail.
Watch Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. for the full recording.
According to records, Harrell’s bond was initially set at $200,000 but was reduced to $100,000 for the robbery charge. The cost of the assault was reduced to $30,000 from $40,000.
Harrell is the only person caught on the surveillance video, but he’s not the only one facing charges in this case. Records show Zy’Nika Woods, 19, is also charged with theft.
Police said that on February 13, Trung went to a bank at the 9800 block on Black Hawk Boulevard at about 11:30 a.m. to withdraw a large amount of money for an upcoming trip.
Original report: Woman tracked, robbed in Chinatown after large cash withdrawal from miles away: HPD
Trung reportedly traveled 24 miles to Chinatown and was followed by Harrell Woods before he was brutally mugged.
She suffered broken ribs, a fractured spine, and paralysis from the waist down.
a A GoFundMe is set up for Troung Raised over $260,000.
Woods allegedly acted as Harrell’s getaway driver who followed Trung from a bank to the site of the beating and robbery.
Harrell had already been released on bail on the weapons charge when the incident occurred and was charged with another robbery, which occurred less than two weeks later.
ABC13 spoke to Truong through her daughter last week. “I am really afraid that they will come after us because of what happened. I need everyone’s help to get the punishment they deserve,” Trung said.
See related: ‘I’m really scared they’re coming after us’: Woman paralyzed after robbery speaks to ABC13