Man linked to Houston tiger to be released from prison for sixth time

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The man behind a fleeing tiger in a Houston neighborhood is set to leave a Fort Bend County jail for the sixth time for murder in 2017.

Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, posted a $ 300.00 bond over the weekend and is expected to be released on Monday after being fitted with an ankle monitor, his lawyer, Michael Elliott, said.

The higher bond stemmed from an hour-long revocation hearing on May 14, in which law enforcement accused Cuevas of walking away from two Houston police officers with India, the 9 month old tiger in the back of a Jeep Cherokee. A judge has revoked Cuevas’ bail four more times since his arrest in July 2017 for repeatedly violating the conditions of his release.

Three of the bonds were set at $ 125,000.

Cuevas is charged with murder in an unrelated shooting in Fort Bend County. The case, Elliott said, is due to go to trial in December.

The suspect’s imminent release follows a recently filed Harris County search warrant that shows the owner of Cuevas knew him by another name. The rental agreement for the house in the 1100 block of Ivy Wall Drive – where authorities said the juvenile tiger lived – listed Nick Halden as a tenant.

The owner saw a photo of Cuevas and identified him as Halden.

Elliott was unable to explain why Cuevas used another name on his rental agreement and presumed it had to do with his mixed martial arts career.

“A lot of these fighters use a different name when they fight,” Elliott said.

Police used the search warrant to seize a gun from the house in case it contained any guns – which would be another violation of Cuevas’ bail in Fort Bend County. The safe was taken to a police-owned room to be opened.

Elliott said the gun safe was empty.

The tiger went missing for nearly a week – with police speculating that exotic animal traffickers hid the animal – after a viral video showed the aftermath of its escape on May 9. The cat has since been transferred to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary near Dallas.

Police believe Cuevas is the owner of the tiger, a claim Elliott has repeatedly disputed.

Cuevas’ wife helped lead police to the tiger, Police Commander Ron Borza said.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

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