Originally created 08/15/97

Assistant DA suspended for agreeing to suspect's bond



Agreeing to a $25,000 bond for an Augusta homicide suspect resulted in a week's suspension for a prosecutor.

Assistant District Attorney Randy Sheppard violated office policy last month when he consented to the release of Jermaine Marsell Jones on a $25,000 bond, District Attorney Danny Craig said Thursday.

Mr. Jones, 17, of the 1400 block of Roulette Lane, faces murder charges along with his brother, Charles Jones, 23, in the June 4 death of Glenn Love, 42. Mr. Love died during a robbery in which he was hit in the head with a cement block near the intersection of Roulette Lane and Linden Street.

Charles Jones also requested bond June 13, but the assistant district attorney at the bond hearing opposed bond and Superior Court Judge Albert M. Pickett denied it.

Mr. Sheppard declined to comment Thursday except to say the issue was handled within the prosecutor's office.

Superior Court Judge Franklin Pierce signed the July 14 bond request, which was signed by Mr. Sheppard and defense attorney Richard Ingram.

"I wasn't satisfied that sufficient effort was made to contact the victim's family," Mr. Craig said of the bond for Jermaine Jones.

In addition, Mr. Craig said he objected not to the amount of the bond, but because Mr. Sheppard consented to a specific amount for the bond instead of leaving that decision to the judge.

In 1997, very few homicide suspects have been released on bond. Those who have been released have $50,000 bonds. Mr. Craig said his policy is to oppose bond in murder cases.

On Aug. 7, Mr. Craig said he conducted a "disciplinary discussion" with Mr. Sheppard, who gave his reasons for consenting to the bond. He declined to discuss those reasons.

"I just disagreed with him and thought disciplinary action was appropriate," Mr. Craig said. Mr. Sheppard was suspended for a week without pay.

Mr. Craig said he wouldn't go back to Judge Pierce requesting a revocation of Mr. Jones' bond. However, he said police are monitoring the situation and prosecutors have asked for an early trial date.

The Jones brothers are scheduled to stand trial Sept. 2 in Richmond County Superior Court.