Originally created 05/16/03

Judge rejects suspect's plea for bond



A man who was jailed last month when he appeared in court without an attorney was refused a new bond by the same judge Thursday.

At a bond reconsideration hearing in Richmond County Superior Court, Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. said he was denying bond because of an allegation that Curtis Bell previously violated a condition of bond.

Mr. Bell, 31, has pleaded innocent to charges of aggravated assault and a weapon violations stemming from an incident in May 2002. He had spent most of the past year in jail until he was able to post a bond reduced to $25,000 in February.

His pretrial freedom was brief, however.

On April 1, Judge Mulherin revoked Mr. Bell's bond when he appeared in court alone and protested that he did not want to plead guilty and needed either a new court-appointed attorney or time to earn enough money to hire his own attorney.

On Thursday, Judge Mulherin told Mr. Bell's new private counsel, Randolph Frails, and Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves that he couldn't reinstate Mr. Bell's bond because it was already forfeited. But the judge said he would consider setting a new bond.

Ms. Reeves said Mr. Bell is accused of cocking and pointing a loaded handgun at the head of his then-girlfriend's mother on May 18, 2002, and threatening to kill her. Nine months later, after Mr. Bell posted the $25,000 bond, a neighbor says she saw Mr. Bell at the mother's home - a violation of his bond release, Ms. Reeves said.

Mr. Frails said there has been no evidence that Mr. Bell ever tried to contact the woman. Mr. Bell would be a good candidate for release on bond because he has been steadily employed as a truck driver, had ties to the community and had no felony convictions, Mr. Frails said.

Judge Mulherin denied bond because of Mr. Bell's alleged attempt to contact the woman.

"Let's get it ready for trial," Judge Mulherin told the attorneys.

The earliest Mr. Bell can be scheduled for trial is July 7.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.