Judge rules against suspect in superintendent stabbing

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA – The man accused of killing a former Muscogee County school Superintendent remains behind bars.

A judge denied a motion to lower bond for murder suspect Kareem Lane Friday.

Lane is accused of stabbing Doctor James Burns in his Historic District home back in 1992.

Lane's attorney, Stacey Jackson, wanted his bond dropped down from $750,000 to $50,000 and even suggested Lane could wear a real-time GPS tracking device on his ankle in the time leading up to his trial.

But Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan stood his ground, denying the motion and leaving his bond the way it is.

Jackson says the former Marine and soccer coach poses no threat or danger to the community if he bonds out of jail on murder charges.

Lane was arrested in May, nearly 18 years after the crime, when prosecutors revealed they allegedly have new DNA evidence linking him to the murder weapon.

Stacey Jackson says the DNA results are preliminary and a final report has not been received by the District Attorney's Office.

At the bond hearing Friday, local and state NAACP officials called Lane's bond amount "barbaric."

"This was a tragedy in this community but you can't decide this case on emotion. A person is innocent until proven guilty and when you begin to say that this individuals needs to stay in jail while you take your time and prepare your case and God only knows how long it's going to take then what does the court say about a speedy trial,"said Edward DuBose, Georgia NAACP President.

Prosecutors say they consider Lane a flight risk, saying he failed to show up in court two different times before on traffic violations.

"To me, it's significant that it's not important to you to show up to a traffic citation. It's something that's so minor that if you don't want to hassle with it, then you can just pay the money. If you want to be vindicated, you can show up in court and ask for a hearing. He didn't do either in this particular case. My position is, if he won't show up for a traffic citation, what will he do in a case where he's facing life without parole," said Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore.

James Burns' daughter, Andrea Butler, told the judge their family is worried that if Lane is released from jail on bond, he will not show up for his trial which they have been waiting for all these years in order for her father to have justice.

"They have a man sitting in jail waiting for him to go through the criminal process and they're just sitting back on their heels not moving the case forward. I'm disappointed in their objection to a reduction in bond due to the fact that they don't have any reasonable expectations of bringing the case to court any time soon," Stacey Jackson said.

Prosecutors couldn't say when the case will be heard by a Grand Jury but Judge Jordan says he has urged the District Attorney's Office to put the case at the top of their list. Moore says the state is compiling 18 years of information.

Next week, Jackson says he'll be filing a constitutional speedy trial demand and after that, a motion to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution.

Kareem Lane remains an inmate in the Muscogee County Jail.

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