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Victim's Family Says Accused Killer Slipped Through Justice System

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-08 04:45:31-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Jessenia Mercado and her mother Leila have found themselves at the center of debate surrounding gun violence. Their shirts and the signs they carry say it all, they want justice.

"I feel like my son died in vain," said Mercado.

In late August 2014 Mercado's son, Adam Marquez, was gunned down near the YMCA where he played ball. His accused killers were charged in his murder. The one who allegedly pulled the trigger, Joshua Aretz, was taken into custody on a $1 million dollar bond. However, it was later reduced to $200,000 and Aretz was allowed to go home under strict rules including wearing a GPS monitoring device. Marquez's family believes those rules were never followed.

"We've been pointing out violations, violations, you make an order. I feel like if you make an order as a judge you should keep to the order that you make," Marquez's grandmother, Leila Velazquez said.

They wrote letters to the judge and the district attorney's office. However within days of someone getting back to them another life was taken.

The victim was Fort Campbell Soldier Savon Easterling. he was only 21-years-old. One of the suspects named in his death, Joshua Aretz.

"No matter what I did, what I said to get him back in jail, they could've saved him. They could've saved Savon Easterling but they didn't," Mercado said.

Now it is their mission to find out who dropped the ball and how.

"I don't want other mothers to feel this and now I know that Savon's mom is feeling the same pain. Its frustrating, frustrating that people have these young mens' lives in their hand and they let it slip," Mercado said.

Our calls to the Montgomery County District Attorney's office were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

Clarksville police said the department is not responsible for monitoring GPS devices, that responsibility goes to the bonding company as ordered by the court.