In a slight revision to an earlier decision that drew criticism, Judge Monte Watkins on Friday raised the bond that would have allowed a gang member and suspected killer to return to the streets.
Police say 17-year-old Christian Walters is responsible for the October shooting of Dontrell McFadden, 21, near the Nashboro Village Golf Course. In his conversations with police, Walters reportedly admitted to the crime and attributed it to gang activity.
But following Walters' arrest, Watkins set the defendant's bond at $75,000, a figure prosecutors said was far below the norm for a first-degree murder charge.
Friday morning in court, Walters' mother, Regina Holloway, testified that she had gathered the10 percent — or $7,500 — necessary to release her son from state custody until his trial date.
But prosecutors told the court they had concerns about whether or not Walters would remain with his mother, citing an incident earlier this year when the teen disappeared for 10 days.
“There is obviously no obligation whatsoever on his part and the state remains extremely concerned — especially since he was gone for 10 days earlier this year and his mother didn't know where he was — that he's not going to be in this jurisdiction when it comes time to try this case,” Assistant District Attorney Kathy Morante told the court.
Watkins raised the bond to $100,000, adding that should Holloway secure the necessary amount for bail the court would have another hearing on the matter.
The victim’s mother, Regina Larry, attended Friday morning’s hearing.
Following the hearing, she told The City Paper Watkins’ original decision had shaken her belief the criminal justice system would effectively prosecute her son's killer.
“I feel great that he's not going to be out, that the judge realized that letting him loose is not safe for the community,” Larry said. “[The judge] went back and did the right thing.”
Although happy with Watkins' decision to increase the bond, prosecutors say $100,000 is still low. According to Morante, judges weigh a number of factors when determining bond, but “in a first-degree murder case where the proof is strong, you would expect it to be upwards of $150,000, and probably a lot more.”
According to police, McFadden's murder was the result of his encounter with Walters along Nashboro Boulevard. Walters, a member of the Crips street gang, allegedly opened fire on McFadden after the two exchanged gang signs.