He qualified for a PR bond, but Gov. Abbott’s order kept him in jail. Now he has COVID-19.

Jack Henson, 49, held since late December on warrant in criminal mischief case

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County Jail inmate who qualified for release without paying bond last month has contracted COVID-19 while still in custody, multiple people familiar with his case confirmed Thursday.

Jack Henson, 49, remains in jail despite being approved for a personal recognizance bond because of an order from Gov. Greg Abbott that bars these types of bonds for inmates accused, or previously convicted, of violent offenses, jail officials said.

Even though Henson’s current charge, felony criminal mischief, is a nonviolent charge, he has two previous convictions of misdemeanor family violence in other Texas counties.

Bexar County Sheriff’s officials on Thursday said they were now working with pretrial services and the judge in Henson’s case to determine whether something could be worked out regarding his possible release.

He is currently being held on a $7,500 bond, meaning it would typically cost about $750 for Henson to be released.

“It scares me a little bit,” Henson’s longtime partner, Gwendolyn Briskey, said Thursday, referring to Henson’s positive diagnosis.

As local officials shrink jail populations due to coronavirus, Abbott blocks release of some inmates who can’t pay bail

Abbott’s order, issued in late March, prohibits inmates accused of violent crimes, or previously convicted of a violent offense, from being released without paying bond.

Under this order, which was in and out of court for several weeks before the Texas Supreme Court ultimately upheld it last month, Henson does not qualify because of his previous history of family violence.

San Fernando Hall incident

Henson, who has no history of violence in Bexar County, was arrested in early August after police officers said he damaged a sprinkler system at San Fernando Hall, a downtown wedding reception venue.

The incident caused more than $2,500 worth of damage to office supplies, furniture and cabinets, according to Henson’s charging paperwork.

The hall had signs posted on it stating it was temporarily closed, and multiple calls to its phone number when straight to an automated message system on Thursday.

Henson was released from jail in late August and was then indicted in connection with the case at the end of September, court records show.

He violated conditions of his release in early December, and a warrant for his rearrest was then issued by the court.

He fought to get out of jail during the pandemic. Now the real battle begins.

Henson was taken back into custody Dec. 31 and has remained in jail ever since, records confirm.

Briskey called Henson’s rearrest unfortunate on Thursday since it stemmed from him missing a court appearance while he was hospitalized for a mental health episode.

Records show Henson was ruled to be competent to stand trial last month, the same month he was approved by the county for PR release.

Henson’s attorney said via telephone Thursday he was recently informed of his client’s COVID-19 diagnosis, but he was not provided information on Henson’s symptoms.

As of Wednesday, more than 400 inmates at the jail had tested positive for the deadly virus.

As SA man remains in jail on nonviolent charge, attorney pleads for his release because of health condition

About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy-nominated photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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