BURNSVILLE, Minn. (FOX 9) - A young Dakota County street racer, who pled guilty to two counts of murder in a deadly 2021 crash, is set to be released before the end of the month. Now the families of the victims are speaking out, believing the criminal justice system has let them down.
"We are forever broken," said Veronica Ford, mother of victim Dalton Ford. "We are forever broken. And it is something that, it's a club that you do not want to belong to."
Ford and his girlfriend, Tayler Garza, were killed on Easter morning, two-plus years ago along County Road 42 in Burnsville.
They were struck by Leon Bond, who was just shy of his 18th birthday at the time. Bond was drag racing his sister, Camille Dennis-Bond, at dangerous speeds in side-by-side lanes before the violent impact that sliced the couple’s car in two.
While Dennis-Bond’s vehicle was not physically involved in the T-bone collision, she was ultimately convicted on third-degree murder charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Her brother, less than two years younger, was adjudicated as a juvenile despite the appeals of prosecutors and the victims’ families.
On Tuesday, a judge signed off on Bond’s release, noting his completion of programming at the Red Wing Juvenile Detention Center, before his 21st birthday. The victims’ loved ones said they are numb with Bond likely heading home by the end of the month.
"Just wish we had more justice," Brandon Garza, Tayler’s father told FOX 9’s Paul Blume. "We need more justice. Tayler and Dalton deserved better."
"As soon as the judge certified Leon as a juvenile, it was all about rehabilitating him," said Jim Ford, Dalton’s father. "There was no punishment phase. No justice system to society phase, nothing."
"No discipline, no, you know, nothing to society. Not even like a work program. Once he is out on the 29th of September, he is out," added Veronica Ford. "It has been 180% about rehabilitating him and our feelings, our concerns have never been brought to the table or asked. I guess it is just frustrating."
The victims’ families told Blume, at the very least, the drag racing siblings deserved the same 15-year sentence.
Camille Dennis-Bond is currently appealing her conviction. Her now 20-year-old brother will now have to stay out of trouble until his 21st birthday next June, or he risks the court sending him to prison for 25 years as part of his juvenile third-degree murder plea deal.