Sitting a few rows back and to the right of Christopher Vargas-Zayas, Susan Andrews and family wore pins bearing the face of Carly Andrews.
As she waited for Hall County Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden to rule on a potential bond for Vargas-Zayas, who was charged with malice murder in the fatal shooting of Andrews, Susan Andrews said she was afraid “he was going to get out.”
“I’m afraid to go out on my front porch. I’ve been since this happened,” said Susan Andrews, Carly’s mother. “I’m afraid that somebody’s going to hurt us.”
Authorities were called at about 2 p.m. Sept. 6 to the apartment on Norton Drive in Gainesville where Vargas-Zayas and Andrews lived together. Andrews had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest; she died at the hospital.
Bearden ultimately decided not to grant a bond Tuesday, Dec. 18, for Vargas-Zayas.
Defense attorney David West said his client asserted this was an accidental shooting, though he hasn’t received any discovery in the case. During the hearing, West asked the judge to grant a reasonable bond so his client may potentially stay with his mother in Puerto Rico or his father locally.
“I thought the judge was going to bite on it because he asked about the passport question. We were more than willing to surrender the passport so any concerns about him going anywhere else were allayed,” West said.
The prosecution and the judge raised questions about both options, including the added difficulty of bringing someone to court from Puerto Rico or the potential risk of intimidating witnesses here in Hall County.
“If there was a threat, they should have put it up there and let us hear that person say what it was. I don’t believe that for a minute,” West said.
Susan Andrews described her daughter as “one of the sweetest kids in the world.”
“She did anything for anybody, and you couldn’t get mad at her because of that laugh and that smile she had,” Susan Andrews said.
Carly’s mother said Vargas-Zayas and Andrews were in a relationship for roughly three years, though she had learned troubling details about their time together since the shooting.
“We kept trying to tell her, ‘Leave him, Carly. Leave him.’ But there was something that made her stay there,” Susan Andrews said, adding that she felt Vargas-Zayas was controlling.
West argued Vargas-Zayas had a “minimal at most” likelihood of committing any crime while on bond and had no risk of fleeing.
Bearden ruled against bond but said he would likely reconsider if the case began to drag.