By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor
Last August, Caitlynne Infinger was a 20-year-old soon-to-be mother of two when she was murdered by her 22-year-old husband, Alex Guajardo. At the time, Guajardo had been released on his second consecutive PR bond for two DUIs, a hit and run and an assault charge.
Caitlynne’s story is sadly not uncommon, but there is an effort being made to prevent future tragedies. The movement is being led by her mother, Melanie Infinger, who seeks to pass “Caitlynne’s Law,” which will prevent offenders from attaining consecutive PR bonds for violent crimes.
Saturday, July 27th, I was able to interview Melanie Infinger and discuss her daughter’s case. The following is the interview where we talk about her daughter, the questionable circumstances surrounding her murder and her legacy with “Caitlynne’s Law”.
Andrea Mau: What was the original intention of reform bail in Texas?
Melanie Infinger: The bail reform was originally for nonviolent crimes. They specifically wanted to make sure those that could not afford to pay the ticket, like a speeding ticket or a minor offense, weren’t jailed. That’s the way I understand it. It was for petty crimes.
The people that brought bail reform into effect claimed it was about discrimination. The people with money were able to pay their bonds and get out, and they didn’t think it was fair. It was about discrimination and not favoring the rich over the poor.
AM Is the reform bail at this time serving this purpose?
MI: I honestly believe that the way it was supposed to be and the way it is now is very skewed. It definitely is not taking into account criminal history. It’s not taking into account that it was a violent crime.
My daughter’s husband who murdered her was arrested for two DWIs, a hit and run and an assault. He was not held accountable. He was basically given a slap on the wrist, and then let out of jail hours after he was arrested to go murder her.
I do believe there should be a form of bail reform. I’m not saying it should not happen, but what it should be and what it is now is two very different things. There is a huge grey area, and magistrates and judges are not looking at their criminal history.
Obviously, my daughter is the absolute worst— She sadly has become the face of just how bad things can get. This is horrific and is a nightmare, but it’s happening. It’s happening all around the United States and it’s a nationwide problem. Bail reform is letting out violent criminals.
I’m talking not just two or three offenses. There are some people out there with seventy offenses. I’ve read stories where they haven’t had to pay a dime and go on to commit horrible crimes like murder.
It’s really sad. It’s not just about the poor and the rich— It is about the crime and the way it should be punished. Ultimately that’s what would’ve saved my daughter’s life.
AM: Your daughter’s husband killed their cat. When Caitlynn called police, officers refused to arrest him on that charge, despite animal cruelty being a felony under Texas law.
Have you found out why they refused to arrest him on that charge and if they had, would the animal cruelty charge have kept him in jail?
MI: That’s one of the things that have bothered me from the beginning. The day she had him arrested for the assault charge, she actually called me and that was the first thing she had told me. He had tortured and killed the cat. He had put it in a bag of bleach after he tortured and killed it.
She walked into their cat being killed, and they were her babies. She loved her animals, and he knew that so it was a type of control. He would let her get these cats, and then he would kill them.
I knew about one cat prior to this, and from that moment on I knew that things were really bad. We had red flags, he was controlling and jealous, but we had no idea that there was this kind of— I mean, who does that?
I told Caitlynne, “Honey, people who kill animals, kill people. That is not a normal thing. You really need to be worried, and you need to leave him.”
They [the police] called the DA and the DA said that they couldn’t arrest him for the charges for the cat. I knew that was animal cruelty, and I knew immediately that that was a felony. So, she had him arrested for the assault.
Immediately on my way to her apartment, I called the animal cruelty division to see. By the time I got to the apartment, they were still there resuming the cat’s body out of the dumpster. They resumed the cat’s body and opened up an investigation for animal cruelty.
I asked the DA, “He killed an animal. Wouldn’t that have made the charges more? Would that have made a difference?” What the DA told me was, it wouldn’t have made a difference because those kinds of things are an investigation that takes awhile. It was an open investigation and they couldn’t have charged him with that until the investigation was over.
I kind of understand, but obviously I think it’s wrong. I was still very upset about it because I think it shows what a horrible person someone is, what a sick person is and what a danger to society someone is if they’re killing cats. I think it would’ve made a difference.
AM: Did your daughter or you ever report the other two animals that were killed?
I didn’t find out about the second one until the day I got to her apartment when the third one was killed [be]cause she knew how upset I was over the first cat being killed. As a mom, I would constantly stay on her about it.
She was like most people in an abusive situation. They were young and she would make excuses for him. She would think that he would change. It’s like the more we didn’t like him, saw the red flags and talked about it, the more she would push way.
She got pregnant right after they started dating. I feel like that was another form of control with him. They were actually separated when she got pregnant the second time, and she took him back. I remember crying and telling her, “He got you pregnant because he knows you’re gonna take him back.”
She wanted to have a happy family. She was twenty years old. She felt like they were young, he was gonna get through his stuff and he was gonna be better. So she had the picture of this great family and just wanted to be loved, so she made excuses for him and would go back to him.
But anyway, as far as going to the police for the cats… The first one we did not. The day he was arrested I found out about the second and third one. At that point, he was arrested for the assault.
AM: Have you been working closely with law enforcement officials?
MI: Absolutely. We have been working with a lot of police organizations, specifically the Houston Police Officers’ Union. President Joe Gamaldi, and also the Pasadena Chief of Police, Josh Brugger, did an amazing interview the day she was murdered about the system in Harris county being partly responsible for Caitlynne’s death.
So I’ve been working closely with them as well as Kim Goode, a lawyer who is helping me pass Caitlynne’s Law. They have been amazing helping to get Caitlynne’s story out and trying to make a change.
AM: Have you found that they see several cases like what happened to Caitlynne?
MI: Just recently they had Rosalie Cook, which was tragic. The eighty-year-old woman was murdered in Houston outside Walgreens. His name was Randy Lewis and he had seventy arrests on his records, and he was let out on two back to back PR bonds like Alex, my daughter’s husband.
It’s these consecutive PR bonds. When you’re let out on one, you think that would be enough, but they were both let out on two. This guy had seventy arrests on his record and they just gave him a slap on the wrist, and he goes on to stab an eighty-year-old woman to death.
Like Caitlynne, it was absolutely preventable. They are not being held accountable. Accountability has got to be brought back into the system.
AM: How can Texas residents help to get Caitlynn’s Law passed?
MI: The best way to get involved is to visit our website [and] our Facebook page and share it. The more we can get her story out and how this could have been prevented had bail reform actually done what it was supposed to do [the better].
She was a beautiful mom, a daughter, a big sister— She was everything. We had plans. She had plans. She left Alex. When he was arrested, she had his parents come to get everything out of the apartment. I was so proud of her.
She had a new lease on life. She felt like the system was protecting her and her children. There were so many charges so in her mind and in my mind, she was being protected. That’s what this system is supposed to do, and it absolutely did not. It just let him out to murder her.
AM: What’s the most important thing for people to understand about this case?
MI: The main point of “Caitlynne’s Law” is to save lives and change the system.
The huge thing is it [the PR bond] is supposed to be for nonviolent crimes. Assault on someone is not nonviolent. When you’re letting these people out that have assaulted people, you need to keep an account that they are a danger to society.
Where are the victim’s rights? They’re protecting the criminal, not the victim. That’s the biggest thing about “Caitlynne’s Law” that people need to understand. People are being murdered and it’s unacceptable.
Featured image by Caitlynne Infinger.