Teen accused of paralyzing woman in Houston robbery confesses in jailhouse phone calls
Joseph Harrell, the 17-year-old teen who was arrested in connection to a violent robbery that left a Vietnamese mother paralyzed last month, was caught on jailhouse phone calls confessing to the crime and continuing to threaten the victim.
In the calls obtained by ABC 13, Harrell can reportedly be heard discussing probation while laughing at those who think he could spend up to 20 years in prison for his crime.
“We were snatching purses,” Harrell confessed. “I hopped out, snatched the purse, the lady ran with the money, I grabbed her, slammed her and she was paralyzed.”
The lady probably wants justice and some more (expletive). They’ll try to max me out 20 years basically. That (expletive). I ain’t going for it. The (expletive) already ran up $230,000 off GoFundMe. (Expletive) better run on with her life. Like, (expletive) you done run up $230,000. Look. They say she ran up $230,000 and she’ll be back walking in no less than a year.
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The recording was obtained from a source close to the investigation amid a judge’s controversial decision to cut the suspect’s bond in half from $200,000 to $100,000.
Harrell, who was also charged in a separate robbery that took place more than a week later, also had his bond lowered from $40,000 to $30,000 for that case.
President of Houston Police Officers Union Douglas Griffith told ABC 13 that Harrell will be a threat to the public if he makes bond.
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My concern is for the public. If this kid gets out of jail, he is going to victimize more individuals. He does not care about anyone but himself, and for the judge to lower his bond baffles my mind. I can’t wrap my head around it. This kid is a danger to others and the community and needs to be locked up.
On Feb. 13, Harrell was captured on surveillance footage physically attacking Nhung Truong, 44, during a robbery at the 9800 block of Bellaire in Houston, Texas.
Truong, who had withdrawn a large amount of cash for an upcoming trip to visit her family in Vietnam, suffered broken ribs and a severe spinal cord injury.
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Authorities said the suspect observed Truong withdrawing from a bank in Chinatown before following her for more than 20 miles to Bellaire.
Harrell’s 19-year-old accomplice, Zy’Nika Ayesha Woods, was also arrested and charged with robbery. Woods was handed a $50,000 bond.
If Harrell makes bond, he would be placed under house arrest and be required to wear a GPS monitor.
Truong is currently unable to walk.
The single mother, who has been relying on help from her three children, may never regain full function of both legs. Her doctors said that there is a 50% chance she will fully recover.
“I’m feeling really scared that they are coming after us because of what happened. I need everyone’s help to get them the punishment they deserve,” she previously told ABC13.
As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe campaign that was set up by Truong’s family has raised more than $330,000 in donations.