Phillip Sailors, 69, a veteran accused of shooting and killing Rodrigo Abad Diaz, 22, in Georgia after he pulled into his driveway was set to have a bond hearing on February 7 but was released on $10,000 bond today, according to his lawyer Mike Puglise.
“Mr. Sailors is not a flight risk,” Puglise says. “A 70-year-old man is not a flight risk. He has lived at the same property for 33 years. He has medical issues and rest assured Mr. Sailors is going to continue to cooperate with the district attorney’s investigation.”
Puglise previously told NBC Latino that his client believes his home was about to be burglarized when he shot Diaz.
The victim’s brother, David E. Diaz-Valencia, 23, said, “The guy came outside and my brother’s girlfriend said he was screaming, ‘Get off my property!’ and he shot into the air,” Diaz-Valencia said. “My brother was backing out fast because he was scared and he rolled down the window to say he was sorry and he was not doing anything wrong. Then the guy shot him in his head.”
The bond decision was signed off on by Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter, who defended the bond and said he did not put any consideration into whether Sailors’ release could inflame tensions after Diaz’s death.
“The purpose of a bond is to prevent a defendant from committing another offense or to prevent him from fleeing,” he says. “This is a 69-year-old man with no prior criminal record and I don’t think he’s a flight risk. We confiscated his firearms, he’s supposed to turn in any firearms, and I don’t think there’s a likelihood that he’s going to commit another crime so I don’t want to commit jail space housing him.”
Diaz-Valencia says the funeral mass will be at 8 p.m on Thursday.
“We appreciate all of the support,” he said, adding that he and his family were on their way to pick up his brother’s ashes.
Diaz’s family thanked the public for its support on the website for their company J & D Cargo Express, where it posted the funeral memorial prayer card for Thursday’s mass.
“We give thanks to God for every single day, minute and second that we spent together,” the prayer card reads in part. “Today we give him to God with the profound hope of being reunited one day in a better world, free of pain.”
“This has been so hard on the community,” brother Diaz-Valencia says. “But we appreciate all of the support. I know everyone is talking about gun control — I’m not against guns — but people have to know how to use them.”
The family takes some comfort in the fact that while Diaz is gone, he may still save the life of others.
All of his organs were donated before he was cremated.