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After four years, a Hays County inmate finally starts trial. Hundreds continue to wait for trial, concerning advocates

More than 80% of the population at Hays County Jail is being held pretrial. Twenty-four of those inmates have been waiting for over three years.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — Hays County Jail Advocates is a group that recently came together to shed light on issues faced by inmates.

Cyrus Gray is an inmate who's been there for over four years. His dad, also named Cyrus, said he was arrested after a murder happened in 2015.

"According to the claim, three Black guys dressed in masks went into an apartment where somebody is selling drugs and try to snatch the drug," said Gray. "One of the three guys had a gun. The gun goes off. One kid is killed."

In 2018, his son was arrested and charged with capital murder. He's been incarcerated for four years and has maintained his plea of innocence all throughout, assuming he would be able to exercise his right to a speedy trial.

It's been a long time, and it wasn't until about two weeks ago that Gray's trial finally started.

"We've been looking forward to him coming home," his father added. "It's unfortunate that it's taken this long, four years. Having somebody incarcerated ... without the benefit of going to court."

According to the Hays County Jail dashboard, as of July 4, 2022, 562 people, or 83% of the jail population, were held pretrial. Twenty-four of those inmates have been awaiting trial for over three years.

RELATED: Hays County selects vendor to serve new public defender's office, alleviate overcrowding in jail

"It's just, it's not right to be keeping people in jail pretrial for years on end," said Amy Kamp with Hays County Jail Advocates. "I mean, it's not right to be keeping people in jail for pretrial even for months on end."

Kamp said she's spoken to people who have been in pretrial detention for seven years.

"I feel like, you know, Hays County needs to move into the present era," she added.

In the meantime, Gray is happy his family will finally get the answers they've been waiting for.

"I got the sense that might be done before the middle of next week," he said. "The judge is already furious that they've taken too much time."

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