HOUSTON — Victor Cuevas, the man at the center of the tiger investigation, was released from the Fort Bend County Jail Monday afternoon after he posted bond over the weekend.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office tweeted Cuevas bonded out of jail at approximately 1:05 p.m. Several minutes later, Cuevas and his lawyer, Michael Elliot, walked out of the jail and spoke to the media about their plan to keep Cuevas out of jail for the foreseeable future.
"We have from the very beginning steadfastly maintained our innocence, not only in the evading arrest case -- you know in Harris County, I think everyone is coming widely understanding is not a case at all -- as well I think it will be shown in the trial of this murder case," said Elliot.
Under Cuevas' bond conditions, he will have to wear an ankle monitor and he has a curfew between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Cuevas landed back in jail after his bond was revoked earlier this month on a 2017 murder case.
The bond on the murder charge is unrelated to the tiger investigation, but prosecutors said Cuevas violated conditions when he allegedly drove off with India the tiger in the back of an SUV. He was charged with evading arrest.
The trial for the murder case has been reset for December 8.
Elliot said he plans to prove that Cuevas acted in self-defense.
"In the state of Texas as well as most places in the United States...it's not a crime if you're defending yourself against someone else's unlawful use of force. And that has been our allegation and our position since Day 1. That Victor Cuevas committed no offense. He's not guilty of murder or anything else," said Elliot.
India the tiger update
India the Tiger is loving life at his new home, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch near Dallas.
On Saturday, he was released into his new large naturally-wooded half-acre habitat at the sanctuary that's equipped with a pool and trees.
Photos: India the tiger
The sanctuary's director, Noelle Almrud, released the following statement about how India is adjusting to her new living quarters:
“India is a confident boy, and in his large space he is relishing in his freedom, and acting like the curious, lively young tiger he is. He already found a large log that is clearly his favorite, and enjoys stretching, scratching and marking his scent. He bounces around the habitat exploring all of the new smells and stalking his toys in the thick tall grass, illustrating his wild instincts. He is having a great time in his pool, particularly batting at the waterspout, and spending time exploring the hills, platforms and other enrichment– including a big red ball he ambushes as he leaps from behind bushes to try to get it. He watches his new neighbors curiously - tigers and a black bear from afar in their own habitats. He continues to thrive and is eating well.”
Black Beauty Ranch has two other tigers they have rescued in the past — Loki, another tiger rescued from Houston, and Elsa, a tiger rescued from San Antonio.
Almrud said she hopes to introduce India to the other tigers but said their interaction will depend on their personalities.