Court releasing thousands of violent felons on low (or no) bond – including accused murderers

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DENVER, CO- After a months-long investigation by CBS4, data shows that so far in 2021, more than 4,000 defendants in felony cases in the state of Colorado have received $1 or $2 bonds, if any at all.

In fact, the majority of those individuals have gotten released on Personal Recognizance (PR) bonds that allows the defendants to get out without posting any monetary bond at all. A PR requires the person to promise to return for their next court date.

In some situations, like in the case of Stephanie Martinez, defendants are leaving court only to be re-arrested for worse crimes. Martinez was charged with beating 80-year-old George Black to death outside of the Capitol. 

The elderly man was reportedly attacked by Martinez while feeding pigeons outside the state Capitol in May 2020. 

According to court documents, Martinez is a felon with a history of violence dating back more than a decade. Just two months before the murder of the elderly man, Martinez had been charged in two separate assaults, but was released by Denver County Court on probation for the first case and a PR bond for the second.

The CBS4 investigation uncovered several cases like Martinez in Denver County Court where defendants involved in violent crimes were released within days or hours of their arrest without paying bond. 

Some of those charges include assault, strangulation, false imprisonment, kidnapping, sexual assault of a child, and vehicular homicide. Many individuals had multiple felony charges and would still be released without bond. John Stewardson, Black’s nephew said in a statement:

“This person has problems. This person should not be on the street. Letting people revolve through the door when a crime is done helps absolutely no one and ends up hurting people just like it hurt my uncle.”

Martinez was not the only one who was released and then re-arrested for murder. Six months after Tonell Love received a PR bond for assault, he was charged with stabbing a man to death. Two months after Joseph Topping received a $1 bond for illegal possession of a gun, police say he shot into a crowd and killed a person.

CBS4 stated that when the media outlet shared its findings with Denver Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, they were stunned. Pazen said:

“We’re not talking about low-level property crimes by any means. These are serious, violent felons and we need some level of accountability in these cases.”

Robinson said it’s a failure of the justice system, adding:

“I’ve been hearing about this issue anecdotally for some time. I personally have had trouble getting a lot of the data.”

What Robinson did know is that 45 percent of felons arrested for illegal gun possession were receiving low or no bond. What he did not know, however, is that those cases were the tip of the iceberg. He said:

“I am shocked with some of the data that’s been presented to me. It is 10 times more than I ever thought.”

Many of the suspects are not first-time offenders. For example, David Noriega has arrests going back 15 years for violent crimes. In September 2020, he received probation in Denver County Court for an assault. Just three months later, he was arrested for murder. Pazen said:

“In some ways this is the definition of insanity. If we’re arresting the same people for the same issues and we’re expecting a different outcome, how does that make any kind of sense?”

Robinson added:

“Whatever those cases are where there are real victims involved, we have to take a good hard look at that as a justice system and ask ourselves, how is this happening?”

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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Gun-controlled Chicago: Suspect out on bail for murder caught with gun a second time while out on bond

September 21st, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – A 38-year-old man who was out on bond for a murder charge was arrested this past June for allegedly being in possession of a firearm.

Surprisingly, the suspect was released on bond again for the gun charge – and was arrested again earlier in September for allegedly having another firearm.

On December 26th of 2017, 38-year-old Vincent Davidson was arrested for the murder of 28-year-old Tommie Jones and for the non-fatal shooting of a 26-year-old woman back in October of that year.

According to authorities, the shooting happened at around 10:30 a.m. on October 1st of 2017 within the 2600 block of East 75th Street.

Prosecutors allege that Davidson had walked up to the victims and opened fire, shooting Jones in the head and back multiple times, and shooting the woman in her back, which she survived and later recovered from the shooting.

Two days after being arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery by discharge of a firearm in the case, a judge ordered Davidson to be held without bail.

However, in August of 2020, a judge reduced Davidson’s bail to $300,000 and Davidson was later released after posting a $30,000 deposit bond.

On June 1st of 2021, Davidson and two passengers were pulled over for a traffic infraction, and officers reportedly discovered an open bottle of tequila in the vehicle. According to prosecutors, when an officer inquired whether he had anything in his car, Davison replied there was “something” in the center console.

As it would turn out, according to police, that “something” inside of the center console was a loaded 9-millimeter firearm with a laser sight affixed to it.

The $30,000 bail that Davidson paid to get out of jail on the murder charge was described by Judge Mary Marubio as “incredibly hefty” and that the monetary imposition “didn’t move the needle.” She then ordered Davidson to be detained without bail in both the gun and murder cases.

Then, for reasons that are not quite clear, Davidson was released from jail back in August again.

On September 18th, Davidson was again pulled over for a driving infraction. Officers claimed they spotted an open bottle of alcohol in his vehicle again, as well.

Upon further searching of the vehicle, police again reportedly discovered a pistol in his trunk – this time allegedly hosting an automatic firing switch.

He was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon and resisting arrest, according to prosecutors – same as with the June incident.

On September 19th, Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Davidson to be detained without bail for violating the conditions of his release in the murder case, as well as the terms of his bond in the June gun case.

In the current gun case, she set bail at $200,000 and ordered Davidson to be placed on electronic monitoring if he is released again under any circumstances.

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Police: Chicago man sets fire to building, live-streams entire incident and brags about the blaze

(Originally published September 16th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, a Chicago man is accused of setting a fire that spread to a Lawndale home and then broadcasted a video of the arson where he bragged about setting the blaze as the building continued to burn. 

The man, since identified as 19-year-old Edward Robinson, was arrested shortly after and charged with aggravated arson and possession of a controlled substance. 

According to CWB Chicago, Robinson posted the video to the controversial app “Citizen,” which claims to improve public safety by telling users about unverified police and fire radio traffic. The app also reportedly lets users live stream video from crime scenes. 

Prosecutors stated that Robinson set a family’s home on fire and then confessed to starting the blaze multiple times as he live-streamed the scene on Citizen. As he live-streamed the footage, Robinson said:

“I’m live on the Citizen app! Gang! Hey y’all, I’m gonna be honest with y’all. I just caused this fire with this torch in my pocket. The person recording is the reason this fire is happening.”

As he panned his camera from the fire to the lighter in his pants, he said:

“I caused this fire with this lighter.”

According to authorities, Robinson set fire to a dumpster that was on the north side of a building on South Christina Avenue just before 6:30 p.m., Thursday, September 9th. The building gradually erupted into flames and two females, ages 16 and 50 were inside at the time, but thankfully able to escape unscathed.

A police spokesperson said a witness rang their doorbell and told them to get out of the house because it was on fire. Prosecutors said that all three floors of the building suffered significant damage in the blaze.

Robinson was ordered held on a $500,000 bail and will need to post $50, 000 to get out of jail. If he posts bail, he will be required to have electronic monitoring. Prior to this incident, Robinson was convicted three times as a juvenile for illegal gun possession.

During his bond appearance on Saturday, September 11th, Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said that Robinson is the father of two children and pointed out that no injuries were reported from the fire.

After hearing the state’s allegations, Judge Arthur Williams said:

“In this court’s opinion, you were there, you were filming, you were watching what occurred out of enjoyment. It’s through the grace of God that no one was hurt, killed, or injured in any way.”

In a separate incident, a heartless California man has been hit with felony charges for allegedly setting his own down on fire in a Los Angeles park. 

The New York Post reported that the suspect, 24-year-old Brandon Smith, has been charged with animal cruelty after police say he was caught on surveillance video walking into the park on August 22nd and leaving without the dog. 

Days later, the 7-year-old Corgi mix, named Hennesy, was found tied to a pole and badly burned. The helpless dog died a few days later. Carrie-Lynn Neales, of the animal rescue group A Purposeful Rescue, said in a statement:

“I’ve never witnessed something that horrific. On Thursday, I went to see her at our vet and that’s when I saw the extend of the trauma and the abuse. It’s something I’ll never unsee and it was pretty horrific.”

Smith was arraigned on one count each of cruelty to an animal and arson. In a press release, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said that Smith allegedly used lighter fluid to set Hennesy on fire. He added:

“One of the most important responsibilities of my office is to protect the most vulnerable. That includes our pets.”

Smith’s ex-girlfriend, Serena Prentice said that she has a restraining order against him and that he has a history of mental illness and violence. She said:

“The only thing I can think of is just disgust, honestly.”

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Disabled man leaving soup kitchen beaten to death with bike lock in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago

(Originally published September 15th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL – A 67-year-old disabled man who was leaving a church soup kitchen following a verbal argument inside was reportedly attacked by the man he was arguing with inside of the church.

Authorities say that the suspect beat the victim to death with a bike lock in an alley not far from the church.

On September 10th at approximately 2:45 p.m., 67-year-old Juan Antonio Garcia Rios had just finished up having lunch at the local church’s soup kitchen located within the 1900-block of South Ashland Avenue.

Rios was on the phone with his sister after leaving the church, according to his niece Sara Garcia, and Rios’ sister reportedly heard another man’s voice calling out to her brother and approaching. Rios reportedly told his sister that he’d call her back.

However, Garcia said he never did:

“She never heard from him. He was disabled. He couldn’t even really walk, much less run. He was in a church and he had just finished eating.”

A church employee, identified only as Pamela, said that Rios had gotten into some sort of verbal altercation with another man inside of the soup kitchen, saying she saw the suspect attack Rios with what she thought was a “metal bar” in an adjacent alley to the church:

“They were arguing inside and then I guess from there it escalated… They were arguing, the guy brought out the metal bar and hit him right there.”

Staff at the church called 911 regarding the attack, with Chicago Police later describing the weapon used to beat Rios to death was a bike lock. The suspect, who remains unidentified, reportedly rode off on a white bicycle after the attack and has yet to be caught.

Garcia said her uncle was a good man, having moved to Chicago five months earlier in search of work and also to help preach the gospel:

“He was killed. He was my uncle. We want justice. We want to see if people know more information, if they can tell the cops. We just want justice because we’re so far away… He was a Christian man. His life mattered and he was loved.”

Corina Garcia Flores, Rios’ sister, can’t understand why someone would murder her brother:

“He did not do people wrong. That is what we do not understand, why all this happened.”

Flores spoke fondly of her late brother’s talents and work ethic, calling him a “jack of all trades”:

“He was what is normally called a jack of all trades. If you needed something done he would do it.”

In the police district that encompasses Pilsen and parts of the Near West Side, violent crime has increased over the previous year. According to crime statistics, the number of murders has increased by 65% since 2020, having risen from 17 at this time last year to 28 currently.

Theft and sexual assault reports have also increased as opposed to 2020, however, the number of aggravated batteries and burglaries has decreased somewhat.

Anyone with information regarding the murder of Rios is urged to contact Chicago Police or submit an anonymous tip to detectives through the CPDTip.com website.

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