Friday, May 18, 2012
Bond cut in half for man accused of abusing Justice the puppy
Neither his family members nor the man who cared for the dog are happy with the outcome.
A bond was reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 on Friday morning in a hearing for 18-year-old Darius Ewing, who is accused of setting fire to a puppy in April 2012. His mother Kesha Hood testified in the 292nd Judicial Court that she believed a fair bond would be $1,500, which caused one visitor of the courtroom to gasp. At the end of the three-hour hearing, Judge Larry Mitchell cut the bond in half, saying that if Ewing pays to get out of jail, he would be required to remain in his home.
Fred Ewing, Jr., Darius' uncle, told Pegasus News that the lowered bond is not good enough. "I think it's unfair ... it's like finding him guilty before he has his day in court," he said. Fred Ewing says he believes his nephew is not guilty of throwing a cigarette on Justice, who later died from burns to 70% of his body. "It's a horrific crime. Whoever did it should be punished," Fred Ewing said. "[Darius] has an alibi."
Animal lovers packed the courtroom for the hearing, many wearing purple "Justice for Justice" shirts underneath their clothing. The abused puppy was mentioned very little during the hearing Friday morning; prosecuting attorneys instead fixated on Ewing's character, showing photos of his Facebook page with he and friends throwing apparent gang signs.
Jim Wenger, the animal rescuer with DFW Rescue Me who took in Justice before he died, said he was disappointed that Ewing's bond was cut in half. "A lot of things came out to show he doesn't have respect for himself, in my opinion, or for authority," said Wenger. "I do think he's a huge flight risk."
Many of the animal supporters were concerned that Ewing's bond would be lowered like it was in Mercy the dog's case, when DeShann Brown's bond was dropped from $50,000 to $2,500, and he was able to get out of jail on $250. The case with Justice the puppy seems to be held to a higher standard, said Jonnie England, director of Animal Advocacy and Communications for the Metroplex Animal Coalition.
"I'm OK with this," she said. "I think $50,000 is a good compromise. It shows the court understands the violent nature of this crime."
Fred Ewing said he and his family members will probably be able to pay to get his nephew Darius out of jail, but Fred said he hadn't decided what to do next. "I believe he's in the right place" -- meaning in jail, Fred said -- because of threats made against Darius.
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