Smith County investigator testifies E. Texas girl's death in a hot truck was an accident
Russell Lindstrom appears before Judge Russell. (Source: KLTV staff)
Bella Rose and her sister (Source: Facebook)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
A Smith County father who is charged with manslaughter and injury to a child had his bond amount lowered Friday in a Smith County courtroom.
In a hearing Friday morning, Russel Lindstrom's attorney, Kurt Noell, requested to have Lindstrom's bond lowered, citing his zero criminal history. Lindstrom's bond was originally set at $200,000. The judge found the bond amount not unreasonable, but lowered the manslaughter bond to $100,000 and the injury to the child bond to $25,000 for a total of $125,000.
Prosecutor Jeff Wood said he felt the original bond of $200,000 was reasonable. He said the defendant was not employed and he and his wife had few ties to the community that would compel them to stay. Noell rebutted that Lindstrom is a disabled veteran with ties to the community and a place to live if he bonds out.
Noell called Jennifer Stockwell to the witness stand. Stockwell has been a detective with the Smith County Sheriff's Office since December 2013. Stockwell is the lead investigator in Lindstom's case. Noell asked Stockwell if testing showed whether or not there were narcotics in Lindstrom's system during the incident, but the state objected to the question, saying her response would be hearsay since she didn't do the testing herself. Their objection was sustained and Stockwell did not answer the question.
Stockwell testified that Lindstrom has no criminal history and said the cause of death for Bella Rose was hyperthermia.
Jeff Coates was called to the stand as the next witness. Coates said he met Lindstrom after the incident when he saw a Facebook post about the toddler's death and decided to reach out. He said he believes God led him to Lindstrom and added that if his bonds were lowered, he would allow him to come live with him for weeks or even months. Coates, who works in Canton, said his wife is a stay-at-home mom who is usually home now that their kids are older.
The toddlers' mother and Lindstrom's common law wife, Michelle Moist, said that she doesn't have the money to meet Lindstrom's bond and testified that she had to drop out of school because Child Protective Services would not allow her family to care for the toddler who survived the incident. Moist said she and Lindstrom met at Fort Hood and said that he is on disability because of injuries he suffered while in the military.
The toddler who survived the incident now resides with Moist.