17-year-old confesses to Chinatown robbery, complains about paralyzed victim, calls reveal

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — As a judge’s decision to lower a 17-year-old suspect’s bond in a Chinatown robbery is attracting criticism, 13 Investigates has obtained jailhouse phone calls that a source close to the investigation confirm the suspect made.

Joseph Harrell was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated robbery after police said he was caught on camera physically assaulting Nhung Truong, who ended up being paralyzed from the attack.

In audio recordings that you’ll hear only on ABC13, he’s heard confessing then complaining that the victim is making money on GoFundMe while he sits in jail.

Watch Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. for the full recordings.

According to records, Harrell’s bond was initially set at $200,000 but was lowered to $100,000 for the robbery charge. The assault charge was lowered to $30,000 from $40,000.

Harrell is the only person that was caught on surveillance video, but he’s not the only one facing charges in this case. Zy’Nika Woods, 19, is also charged with robbery, records show.

On Feb. 13, Truong went to a bank in the 9800 block of Blackhawk Boulevard at about 11:30 a.m. to withdraw a large sum of cash for an upcoming trip, police said.

ORGINAL REPORT: Woman followed, robbed in Chinatown after making large cash withdrawal from miles away: HPD

Truong reportedly traveled 24 miles to Chinatown and was followed by Harrell and Woods before being brutally robbed.

She suffered broken ribs, a fractured spine, and is paralyzed from the waist down.

A GoFundMe set up for Troung has raised more than $260,000.

Woods allegedly served as Harrell’s getaway driver that followed Truong from a bank to the site of the beating and robbery.

Harrell was already out on bond for a weapons charge when the incident took place and is being charged with another robbery that took place less than two weeks later.

ABC13 spoke to Truong through her daughter last week. “I’m feeling really scared that they are coming after us because of what happened. I need everyone’s help to get them the punishment they deserve,” Truong said.

SEE RELATED: ‘I’m really scared that they’re coming after us’: Woman paralyzed after mugging speaks to ABC13

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