Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman on Thursday morning refused to revoke the bond for a man whose bond he lowered on a murder charge, then he picked up a second murder count.
Judge Steelman said the bond was lowered for Devante Kearell "White Chalk" Stoudemire, 20, because it appeared the state's case against him for the November 2010 slaying of JerMichael Richardson was falling apart. He said after Stoudemire spent over a year in jail on the charge, the state was unable to go to trial on May 16.
He said the bond was lowered from $350,000 to $70,000 based on weak proof against him, then he was allowed to go off house arrest when forensic evidence came back from the TBI that was favorable to the defense.
Judge Steelman noted that Stoudemire is under a $1.7 million bond on the new murder charge.
He is charged along with Ronald Cosper and Dustin Hayes, both 18, in the killing of 39-year-old Steve Mosley on Monday afternoon at 1108 N. Hawthorne St.
"In our system, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
Judge Steelman noted that at one hearing a female state witness changed her testimony and that another state witness was killed in a car wreck.
Prosecutor Neal Pinkston acknowledged that he won't be ready to go to trial against Stoudemire on the first murder next week.
He said, "If people don't want to cooperate, these things are going to continue to happen."
Jonathan Turner, attorney for Stoudemire, said he wants a speedy trial on the Richardson case. "He has always maintained his innocence," he said.
Stoudemire is due in General Sessions Court next Tuesday on the new murder. He will be back before Judge Steelman the following Thursday for further decisions in the Richardson case.
In the Mosley killing, police said the trio was after money and marijuana and that Cosper shot the victim three times when he struggled with him.
Cosper was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and especially aggravated robbery.
Stoudemire was charged with felony murder and especially aggravated robbery.
Hayes was charged with accessory to felony murder, filing a false report, and especially aggravated robbery.
A witness described in detail seeing a white four-door Buick pull up to an abandoned lot on Sheridan Avenue. It was driven by a white male in a ponytail. A black male exited the vehicle and walked through an alley toward N. Hawthorne. The black male was wearing a torquoise shirt and had a low haircut. The witness then heard multiple gunshots and saw the same black male return to the Buick, which went north on Sheridan. The witness saw Stoudemire get into the Buick at the corner of Sheridan and Wilson Street.
Investigators found signs of a struggle inside the duplex.
Police located Stoudemire and Hayes and interviewed them.
Cosper's fingerprints were found inside the duplex. Cosper was then located at 1503 Wheeler Ave. and was also interviewed.
As a result of the interviews, investigators learned that the trio traveled together to Sheridan Avenue for the purpose of robbing Mosley, who has a record involving drug sales. They said Hayes provided the vehicle and acted as the driver, while Stoudemire and Cosper carried out the robbery.
Police said Stoudemire is a validated member of the Gangster Disciples and Cosper is a validated member of the 52 Hoover Crips. Hayes was described as a self-proclaimed Mafioso gang member.
Police earlier said Stoudemire was the gunman who shot Richardson in the head in Brainerd in November 2010.
Stoudemire, who was 18 at the time, was charged with criminal homicide in that case.
Police went to the scene and found the victim suffering from the gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to Erlanger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police were told that two black males wearing black hooded sweatshirts had approached the victim and engaged in a conversation, which did not appear to be confrontational.
The pair then walked south on Woodvale Avenue, while Richardson joined the many people in the front yard at 4800 Pawnee Trail.
Witnesses said the two black males then returned and, after the victim walked away, one produced a handgun and shot the victim in the back of the head.