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Mother of fallen firefighter warns "The streets of Tucson are not safe" after Zepeda release

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Mother of fallen firefighter warns "The streets of Tucson are not safe" after Zepeda release

CREATED Aug 27, 2012

The man accused of killing a Nogales Firefighter gets his bond reduced, could walk free.

Reporter: Tammy Vo

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - At any moment, Jesus Zepeda could walk out of Pima County Jail a free man. He is accused of running over Nogales Firefighter, Sterling Lytle, in late June leaving him in a vegetative state. Lytle was eventually removed from life support.

Zepeda was assessed a $100,000 cash bond after his arrest. On Monday morning in court, his attorney asked a judge to reduce the bond. The judge agreed, but not before both sides cited several points.

Zepeda's attorney argued that his bond should be lowered because he's not a flight risk or a danger to the community, he turned himself in and that he's a family man. 

"Where's my legacy?" asked Sterling's mom, Sarah Lytle-Barcelo, outside of the courthouse after the hearing. "Don't pull the family card on me because now I don't have a family" she said. Sterling was her only child. Moments earlier in court, Sarah also spoke in front of the courtroom, arguing that it wasn't until Zepeda's picture was plastered all over town and on the news that he finally came forward a month after the incident. "He knew what he had done and left his grill at the scene when he ran over my son, smashed his brain, left tire marks on his chest and left him for dead. He knew what he had done."

A Pima County Prosecutor told the judge that Zepeda's bond should not be reduced for several reasons, including that he has ditched court in the past triggering fifteen warrants to be issued and that he was convicted on a weapons violation while on probation in the past. The prosecutor questioned if Zepeda will show this time.

The judge ended up reducing Zepeda's bond. Before Monday's hearing, Zepeda's bond was $100,000 cash only. That meant, he had to pay $100,000 to get out. Now, he only has to pay $10,000 in cash and put the rest up in collateral.


What will justice mean for Lytle's family? "To see Zepeda put away for the maximum sentence. Nothing is going to bring my son back but he needs to be put away so he can't do this to another family" said Sarah. "I just ask for Tucsonans to pray that justice will be served." She also thanked the Tucson Police Department as well as the County Attorney's office for their efforts.

Zepeda faces manslaughter charges as well as leaving the scene of a deadly incident. His next hearing is on September 13th.