By Hannah Grayson
Judge Christine Van Aken thought the charges alone were too serious to let him bail out despite the argument of of self-defense. A man was not granted bail, without any examination, Monday morning in a homicide case.
His defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Landon Davis, argued that the defendant deserved bail because he was acting in self-defense. Davis laid out the history of confrontation between the two men. One time, the defendant warmly greeted the complaining witness, but the complaining witness pulled out a gun in response. In another confrontation, the complaining witness began to attack and choke the defendant, leading the defendant to pull out a knife as the only way to save his own life.
Davis argued that these multiple confrontations caused the defendant to live in great fear of the complaining witness. On the day of the homicide, witnesses said that the victim was walking toward the defendant with purpose and with his hands in his pockets – which appeared to look like he was holding a weapon.
The defense further argued that the defendant did not want to kill the man, as proved by his actions in trying to help the victim prior to the shooting. After one of the instances in which he felt threatened, the defendant called the police to do a health check on the victim in which they seemed to have found no problem. The defendant was also consistently in touch with the complaining witness’ family in trying to get him help.
In trying to prove that the defendant would be of no danger to the public in being released, the defense further laid out the respected reputation of the defendant. Davis referred to his client as a community activist in Hunter’s Point. He also claimed that many in the defendant’s community would corroborate this.
The prosecution then argued for the judge not to allow bail. They are arguing that it was actually premeditated murder. They say this is due to the video evidence of where the defendant was standing just before the shooting. They are also saying that, despite it being true that the victim had a knife in his pocket, there is no evidence that he had taken it out at any point. It was also found that the defendant was not injured at all in the altercation, which seems to go against the argument of self-defense.
After these arguments were made, the judge decided not to allow bail, leaving the defendant’s family members in the audience visibly in distress. The judge explained her decision to be because of the extremity of the charges and that she was not in the position to determine whether or not it was self-defense.
The defendant will remain in custody throughout the remainder of his trial.