A Wisconsin family continues to question Minnesota’s juvenile justice system after losing their son to a drag racer.
It was Easter Sunday in 2021 when Dalton Ford and his girlfriend, Taylor Garza, were struck by Leon Bond III in Burnsville. Investigators found Bond was driving 114 miles per hour, drag racing his sister in another vehicle just seconds before the crash.
Bond was 80 days shy of his 18th birthday when the crash happened. At the time, retiring Dakota County Judge Joseph Carter ruled against certifying Bond as an adult for the crimes. Alpha News first featured the family’s plight in January.
On Tuesday, there was another court hearing where it was decided that Bond would be released from Red Wing’s juvenile facility at the end of the month.
Dalton’s mother, Veronica Ford, joined Liz Collin Reports for an update after the hearing.
“We got the order the day before letting us know that probation has requested a release date of Sept. 29, that he has fulfilled the long-term program that he was required to do. They told us that it was a nine to 12-month program. He finished it in eight and as of right now he has completely finished the long-term program in eight months and Red Wing can offer him no more,” Ford said.
“The judge on Tuesday let us know that with the juvenile side it has nothing to do with punitive. It is all about rehabilitation. Nothing was ever brought up about justice for Dalton and Taylor or justice for us or the Garza family or the whole community in Prescott, Wis.,” she added.
“It’s eight months and we struggle with what type of programming can be given to a juvenile who admits a double murder. It’s like it never happened. You can get away with murder in the state of Minnesota. We are living it,” Ford said.
Bond’s sister, Camille Dennis-Bond, was 19 years old at the time of the crash. Records show she immediately blamed the victims on scene. A jury found her guilty of murder.
“The judge really struggled in her case with giving her the full amount of time that they were looking to have her go behind bars based on the fact that Leon, who actually made contact with Dalton and Taylor, will likely never see a day behind bars. That is why he went from the 25-year recommendation to 15 years basically because Leon was certified as a juvenile,” Ford explained.
Camille Dennis-Bond is currently appealing her conviction.
Alpha News reached out for clarification and comment from Minnesota’s court system on the case in January. At the time, a spokesperson said “no further information can be provided other than what’s publicly accessible in the case.”
“He (Leon Bond) is going home. He has minimal restrictions, in our opinion,” Ford said.
If Bond violates the terms of his probation, a 25-year prison sentence could be imposed.
“The prosecuting attorney did want him to have a job in place prior to his release. They wanted him to have trauma therapy. So that is going to be offered to him and they did want to make sure that he had an ankle bracelet on that will hopefully remain on until his 21st birthday,” Ford added.
The families of Taylor Garza and Dalton Ford recently brought the Burnsville Police Department lunch to show them their appreciation for all the work they did in the case.
“We were told by quite a few of them, this was probably the worst case that many of them have ever worked on and having lunch brought to them, honestly, we wish we could do more. They were so grateful … they’re wonderful people. They worked really, really hard for Dalton and Taylor and honestly having Leon released in this short period of a time … we believe it’s a slap in the face to the Burnsville Police Department for all of the work that they put into this case and it’s just not justice. It’s not justice in any way,” Ford said.
“We don’t wish this upon another family at all. And we hope that Leon is rehabilitated and can go back out and the public can be safe, but time will tell. We’ll just have to see what happens,” she added.