A bond reduction hearing Thursday morning for capital murder defendant Jakaris Bryant, the 18-year-old Brownwood man charged in the death of his four-week-old daughter, ended with District Judge Steve Ellis ordering evaluations to determine Bryant’s intelligence level and competency for trial.
    Ellis said he won’t decide whether to reduce Bryant’s $500,000 bond until he receives psychiatric and psychological evaluations on Bryant, who testified that he is penniless and owns nothing other than clothes. Bryant remains in custody.
    The capital murder indictment alleges that Bryant killed his daughter, Breyla Ann Bryant, on Dec. 13, 2015 “by shaking, squeezing or by means unknown to the grand jury.”
    Several of Bryant’s family members including Bryant’s father, Richard, as well as Makahla Brewer, the mother of Breyla, attended the bond hearing.
    Bryant’s court-appointed attorney, Jud Woodley of Comanche, argued that Bryant has been “over-charged” in the infant’s death. Bryant is not a flight risk and would no danger to the community if the bond was lowered and Bryant could make the bond, Woodley argued.
    Prosecutor Chris Brown disagreed, citing the “serious nature of the offense” and “shaky” evidence as to where Bryant would live or the nature of his job.
    Brown went on to raise concerns after Bryant was confused by basic questions about his financial status, whether he received an income tax refund or whether he had even filed a tax return, and how much he had earned last year while working at Main Street Car Wash. Bryant also gave conflicting answers as to whether he had given a statement to Texas Ranger Jason Shea.
     Woodley said Bryant’s confusion and misunderstanding of questions were a reflection of Bryant’s inexperience. But Brown said he had “growing concerns” that until there are some definitive answers as to Bryant’s intelligence, the issue could significantly impact the case.
    Bryant was a special education student before dropping out of Brownwood High School at the beginning of his junior year, according to testimony. But while he’s a slow learner, he was not diagnosed with any kind of learning disability and there is nothing wrong with his intelligence, according to testimony.
    Ellis suggested a possible scenario in which Bryant could end up making a lower bond later and be on house arrest in the home of his father, Richard, with an ankle monitor.
    Brownwood police have not commented on their investigation into the infant’s death beyond a press release that gave few details, and there was little testimony Thursday into the circumstances of the infant’s death.
    According to the release:
    Police were dispatched to Brownwood Regional Medical Center on Dec. 13 on a report of an infant not breathing. The infant had been driven to the emergency room by family members who said they discovered her not breathing while at home.
     Attempts to revive the infant were unsuccessful and she was pronounced deceased at 4:12 p.m. The infant was then transported to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Fort Worth for an autopsy.
    Bryant, called to testify by Woodley during Thursday’s hearing, said he disagrees with the capital murder charge, and while not saying he had caused the infant’s death, said there had been no intent.
    Bryant described Brewer as his wife, although he said the two had not had a marriage ceremony. He said he and Brewer, who is now 19, had met while they were both Brownwood High School students.
    “Even if you wanted to run off, do you anywhere to go?” Woodley asked.
    “Not at all,” Bryant replied. “I just need to be home with my family.”
    Bryant’s father, Richard, testified that his son and Brewer would live in Richard Bryant’s home with other family members if the younger Bryant is released on bond. Richard Bryant said he does “side jobs” including cutting wood and mowing lawns and his son would work for him.
    Brewer testified that she and Jakaris had gotten mad at each other and yelled at each other. She said she punched him during one argument and he pushed her.
    But Brewer said she loves Jakaris and said Jekaris had loved their daughter.
    “Do you believe that he intentionally hurt your child?” Woodley asked.
    “No sir,” Brewer replied.
    Shea, the Texas Ranger, testified that he had interviewed Bryant and had seen an autopsy report on Breyla. He did not reveal specifics about what Bryant said or about what the autopsy revealed.
    Bryant initially was not forthcoming about how his daughter was injured but spoke later “about the injuries and how they occurred,” Shea said.
    Shea agreed with Woodley that there are different levels of culpability in a homicide.
    Brown declined after the hearing to comment on the injuries the infant sustained.