News 4 Investigates: Accused murderer out on bond in St. Louis City

News 4 Investigates is looking at how judges and the Circuit Attorney’s Office are handling accused criminals out on bond.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 6:20 AM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A St. Louis man accused of murdering another man during a child’s birthday party is walking free Wednesday after being released on bond.

News 4 Investigates learned this as the I-Team continues looking at how judges and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office are handling accused criminals out on bond.

It’s something a lot of people have been questioning since the tragic downtown crash that caused 17-year-old volleyball player Janae Edmondson to lose both her legs. The accused driver, Daniel Riley, was out on bond for armed robbery case and was violating his bond at the time of the crash.

News 4 Investigates uncovered Riley violated his bond more than 100 times in two years.

Last week Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner claimed her office tried to get Riley’s bond revoked three times before the crash. Gardner said her office did it through verbal motions.

Since the crash, News 4 Investigates found the Circuit Attorney’s Office is putting an increasing number of bond objections in writing, making them public records with the courts.

On Wednesday, Michael Davis Jr. paid his cash bail and was put on house arrest with a GPS monitor. Davis is charged with shooting and killing 27-year-old William Kennedy during a kid’s birthday party in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

Davis had been behind bars for almost two years waiting for trial.

That bond decision came from St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Mullen. It was one of his last orders on the bench because he retired on Wednesday.

Since Davis was released, prosecutors filed a motion asking to have Davis’ bond revoked. In the motion procurators say they believe Davis is a danger to the community and claim he killed an unarmed man during what appeared to be an unprovoked attack at a child’s birthday.

A new hearing was scheduled to review Davis’ bond.

News 4 Investigates reach out to Judge Mullen for comment but hasn’t heard back.

Not everyone who wanted to get out of lock up got that chance.

Before he left the courts, Judge Mullen told another accused murderer that he’d be staying behind bars.

Jonathon Jones, 18, was denied bond. Jones is accused in the September 2021 shooting of Brandon Scott as he drove  in downtown St. Louis, causing Scott to crash on the Arch grounds.

Court orders show prosecutors clearly marked they objected to giving Jones bond.

Scott’s family said they’re relieved Jones isn’t free but they’re upset the other man accused in the murder is.

“How could you let someone out who’s accused of murdering somebody?” said Terrell Herndon, Scott’s cousin.

Mark Perry was also charged with first-degree murder in Scott’s killing. Judge Mullen gave Perry bond twice.

News 4 Investigates checked court records and found Perry was initially denied bond, but in December 2021, Judge Mullen released him and put him on GPS tracking.

Court records show Perry broke his bond multiple times.

Then in August 2022, Perry was arrested in Illinois for a gun charge.

Perry stayed locked up until December 2022 when Judge Mullen gave him bond for a second time.

“In the city, for example, there are a number of people who have been in that jail for three or four years,” said Mark Hammer, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor. “You talk about the presumption of innocence, these people have not been adjudicated guilty of anything.”

Hammer said when judges consider bond they have to factor in how long it’s taking for cases to go to trial.

“If they’re able to get you in for a trial in six to nine months, the judges feel a lot less pressure about keeping you in custody,” he said.