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Bond pleads guilty in Garza-Ford case

Sentencing set for Jan. 23 in Hastings

Dakota County, Minn. Attorney Kathy Keena announced that Leon Bond, age 19 of Burnsville, Minn., pled guilty Monday, Jan. 16 to two counts of murder in the third degree (perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind), in connection with the fatal crash on County Road 42 in Burnsville on April 4, 2021 that killed 22-year-old Tayler Nicole Garza of Woodbury, and 22-year-old Dalton Lee Ford, of Burnsville.

Garza and Ford were 2017 Prescott High School graduates. The two were driving to a nearby Caribou Coffee on Easter morning when the crash occurred.

Judge Christopher Lehmann set the Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction sentencing and juvenile disposition hearing for 9 a.m. Jan. 23, 2023 in Hastings. Camille Dennis-Bond was convicted by a Dakota County jury last month. She will be sentenced at 9 a.m. March 24, 2023 in Hastings.

As outlined in the criminal complaint, on April 4, 2021, at approximately 10:30 a.m., a vehicle driven by Camille Dennis-Bond was drag racing against a vehicle driven by her brother, Leon Bond, at a high rate of speed. One witness described that the white vehicle (Leon Bond’s vehicle) was driving “incredibly fast” and hit another car (a Honda occupied by the two victims) that “basically turned into powder and split in half.” Another witness estimated the two cars passed him going approximately 100 mph. This witness believed they were “racing,” or that it may have been “road rage.” He described their speed as “crazy” and commented it was “bizarre” how fast they were going. He opined there was no way the cars could have stopped for someone in the way.

The posted speed limit in the area of the crash was 50 mph. The crash reconstruction report concluded that the speed of Leon Bond’s vehicle was between 93 and 100 mph at the point of impact with the Honda; and that the speed of his vehicle was 114 mph five seconds prior to the impact. Camille Dennis-Bond and Leon Bond travelled at speeds of 41 to 64 mph over the posted speed limit. Additionally, the primary contributing factor for the crash was the excessive speed of Leon Bond’s vehicle travelling prior to, and at the point of impact with the Honda. The secondary contributing factor was Camille Dennis- Bond’s vehicle and its matching speed (“racing”) with Leon Bond.

The Dakota County Attorney’s Office sought to certify Leon Bond (age 17 at the time of the crash) as an adult in relation to this case. However, the motion for certification was denied by Judge Joseph Carter, who instead ordered that the case proceed under EJJ (Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction). The order denying the certification was appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals which affirmed Judge Carter’s decision.

Keena commented: “The deaths of Tayler Garza and Dalton Ford were due to the extremely reckless behavior of both Leon Bond and his sister Camille Dennis-Bond. My deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Tayler Garza and Dalton Ford for their great loss.”

Keena praised Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Swank who prosecuted the case.

January 17, 2023