COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With the courts being shutdown for the most part, there are some hiccups in the judicial process.
Without grand juries coming together because of the coronavirus, there are no indictments, and without indictments., some suspects have to be granted bond.
After spending seven months in the Muscogee County, Jail 18-year-old Jaquayvius Jones now has a bond of $100,000 for his murder charge. He’s accused of killing 13-year-old Jamareion Davis in January. Davis’ family said they knew a bond would come, but not so soon and so low.
“I can’t eat with my son. I can’t talk to him. I can’t hug him. I can’t do nothing,” Apollonia Davis said.
Davis’ son, Jamareion, was gunned down late on a Friday night in January. Days later, police reported Jones turned himself him, and they charged him with murder.
“It was a callous, callous way for him to take out our baby” family friend Damisha Johnson said. “Somebody that everybody loves.”
Police report witnesses identified Jones as the gunman. At the time, Jones was out on bond as a part of a pre-trial release program for felony theft and burglary charges.
This week, Judge William Rumer granted Jones a $100,000 bond for the murder charge. Although judges are not allowed to comment on individual cases, Chief Judge Gil McBride explained why the defendant is entitled to a bond now.
“If someone is in jail for more than 90 days without being indicted, they’re entitled to a bond and that’s just the law,” McBride said.
Currently, indictments are impossible because a statewide emergency order prevents grand juries from coming together because of the coronavirus.
McBride said they cannot even send summons right now for grand juries. So, while we wait, many people are reaching their 90-day time frame and are required to be granted a reasonable bond. What goes into deciding a reasonable bond for murder?
“For some defendants, that number may be a lot higher than others,’” said McBride. “It kind of depends on their resources, it depends on the likelihood they’ll show up for trial, if they are a flight risk. That’s something we must consider. If they are at risk of intimidating witnesses, committing new offenses, or have some violent history that is brought before the court, all of those things we have to consider. For a very serious felony such as murder, we don’t really have a set chart that we look to.”
“A boy that done killed my son walking around with a $100,000 bond,” said Jamareion’s father, Jonathan Harris. “I don’t know about that.”
“What makes Columbus, Georgia, think he won’t get out again and do this to someone else’s child?” Johnson asked.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Anthony said he respects Rumer’s decision and is pursuing justice diligently. Jones’ public defender is not providing any comment at this time.
For now, Jamareion’s family is demanding change in the way bonds are granted to violent offenders. They want the community to rally together in support.
“Because our system is failing,” Audrey Davis said. “What if it was your child or grandchild? What if it was yours, what would you do and say?”
Jail records currently indicate Davis has not made bond yet. If he does come up with the required 10 percent, there are conditions that he stay away from the victim’s family and any witnesses as well as abide by a 7 p.m to 8 a.m. curfew.
McBride said bond amounts vary for murder suspects, however District Attorney-elect Mark Jones said $100,000 is one of the lowest bonds he’s seen. Jamareion’s family members said they’re worried if Jones is released, he may commit crimes again.