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Judge won’t lower bond for airport murder suspect, calls him threat to El Paso’s safety

Bernard Walter Christmann, charged with murder.
Bernard Walter Christmann, charged with murder.

EL PASO, Texas -- The man arrested for allegedly beating his estranged wife's lover to death was denied a bond reduction Friday afternoon and remains jailed.

El Paso police arrested Bernard Walter Christmann, 50, for allegedly beating Juan Anzaldo, 49, to death as he left work at the El Paso International Airport on the night of Nov. 19. Christmann was arrested and charged with murder on Dec. 6 and his bond was set at $1.25 million.

The prosecutor handling this case, John Briggs, asked the court to deny the defense's bond reduction request.

"I think the fact that he's capable of doing this to another human being means that he's a danger to anybody that he comes across," Briggs said in the virtual proceeding.

Briggs told the court that Anzaldo was beaten so bad that part of his brain was jellied and that police found a log they say Christmann kept for weeks on when the victim worked.

Christmann's attorney, Benjamin Brock, asked the court for a full personal recognizance bond on Friday because of Christmann's family ties to El Paso, poor health, and the lack of "strength of the case."

Brock told the judge there was a problem with the video evidence police investigators are citing in their report because it hadn't even been shown to the District Attorney's Office.

Briggs argued that there was enough evidence for police to arrest Christmann and that, in Texas, the District Attorney's Office is not obligated to turnover any evidence to the defense before indictment.

"Even the officers don't have to have personal knowledge of what they're alleging in that affidavit for p.c. (probable cause)," Briggs said. "P.C. (probable cause) can be based on hearsay and all number of things. And the fact that they can put a bunch of hearsay in an affidavit which constitutes probable cause to hold someone, doesn't mean that I'm now obligated to turn those things that are referred to in that affidavit over to the defense. There's just is no authority for it."

After much discussion about the way this case was being handled by police and the District Attorney's Office, the judge acknowledged Brock's concerns but said she would only address Christmann's bond. After nearly 30 minutes of back and forth, the judge denied the request to lower the bond because of the nature of the offense and for the safety of the community.

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Larry Monarrez

Larry Monarrez is ABC-7’s assistant news director.


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