Erie's DA Seeks Material Witness Bonds In Violent Cases - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Erie's DA Seeks Material Witness Bonds In Violent Cases

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Getting witnesses to testify in criminal cases has been a growing problem in Erie.
And now, the district attorney's office is getting more aggressive in getting victims inside the courtroom.

For some time now, WICU & WSEE has been reporting on cases where the alleged suspects get off scot-free because victims or witnesses don't show up to testify.
In a couple recent violent cases, the DA is using a more aggressive strategy to change that.

Take the case of 61-year old Kenneth Ellis. He's charged in the shooting death of Stevenson Jordan last December.
The key witness in the case, 33-year-old Nicole Mayo, didn't show up for his preliminary hearing last month.
So, the DA's office filed a 'material witness bond' against her.
And in court on Thursday, a judge ordered Mayo to testify against Ellis, and released her on
unsecured bond.
She'll have the pay $25,000 if she doesn't show up for trial, next month.

Just last week, as we reported, prosecutors filed a material witness bond against 4 victims who didn't show up for the prelim for Gerald and Laron Johnson.
They're charged with attempted homicide and robbery, for allegedly shooting 3 people at a home back in January.
After 3 of those victims didn't show for a bond hearing earlier this week, there are now warrants out for their arrest.
District Attorney Jack Daneri says while this is extreme, it's also necessary.

"Anytime you take someone's freedom it is extreme, particularly someone who hasn't committed a crime," said Daneri. "But let's remember too, part of everyone cooperating and being a good citizen is, if you spoke to the police and you've given your version of events we just simply want you to come into court and explain those events again. And if you refuse to do so, you're essentially thumbing your nose at the court saying 'I'm not going to be part of this process,' and then everything breaks down for the defendant and prosecution. And that's what the witness protection bond is all about," Daneri added.

So, if the 3 victims in the Johnson case are arrested, a judge will then determine if bond can be set for them, to ensure they show up to the Johnson's preliminary hearing next week.

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