Herman Lee Smith, 20, is accused of shooting Cardarius Steagall multiple times in the upper torso in Bowdon last year. Smith appeared in court with his attorney, public defender Harry Daniels, requesting bond.
Judge Aubrey Duffey, filling in for Judge John Simpson, denied the defendant’s motion for bond.
Daniels maintained his prior statement that his client was acting in self-defense on the night of Nov. 18, 2012.
“This is a clear case of self-defense, your honor,” Daniels said. “We believe we’ll be able to prove that the alleged victim had a firearm, and that there was a possibility that he fired his weapon.”
Daniels said he expects witness testimony, as well as physical evidence like shell casings, to prove that Steagall was both armed and discharged his firearm.
Assistant District Attorney John Cunningham, opposing bond, disagreed that the facts of the case are as “clear” as Daniels believes.
“The defendant lied to police about being there at the time of the incident, left the club and then came back later and said it was self-defense,” Cunningham said.
Daniels argued that his client was not a flight risk because of his ties to the community and that he was not a risk to intimidate any witnesses because his defense would be based on self-defense.
There was also an issue regarding the discovery items, including discs with witness testimony and reports from authorities from the night of the incident. Daniels said his client was indicted without a complete case file, which Cunningham said was “not a problem.”
“We still have a lot of discovery to go through ourselves,” the Cunningham said. “We still haven’t received the results of the autopsy from the crime lab yet.”
Cunningham said his office has been working to get the discovery items copied for the defendant’s counsel.
“This just happened on Nov. 18, and considering it’s a murder case, it’s moving as quickly as it can,” he said.
Duffey ordered the district attorney’s office to get the discovery file to Daniels as soon as possible.
Smith allegedly shot Steagall during a party at an establishment referred to as Club 100 in Bowdon. Steagall died at the scene.
The defendant pleaded not guilty last month to five offenses in his arraignment: malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and carrying a concealed weapon.
The two men, along with up to 100 other people, were attending a party at a building on the 3600 block of Highway 100 in Carroll County, just north of Ephesus.
No one else was injured in the incident, police said.
Four members of Steagall’s family were present at the bond hearing, with one woman exclaiming “Yes!” when Duffey said he was denying bond.
• Duffey also denied bond Thursday for a man accused of robbing a Villa Rica grocery store.
Christopher Joiibois, 19, was arrested in December, along with two juveniles, after allegedly robbing Hunter’s Grocery on Rockmart Road in Villa Rica with a firearm.
The man’s two codefendants are 14 and 15 years old.
Joiibois appeared in court with his counsel, Atlanta attorney Brian Tevis, who scheduled the bond hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Herb Cranford told Duffey that the two juveniles’ families had received threats from inmates (not Joiibois), intimidating the juveniles to not cooperate with authorities.
Tevis said his client has no knowledge of the alleged threats, and that the gun used in the alleged robbery was “a toy or pellet gun.”
Cranford said two of the defendants had guns, while the other acted as lookout. He also said Joiibois was one of the two armed individuals who demanded and took the money.
“Due to the seriousness of the charges and the temptation this man will have to flee, I’m going to deny bond in this matter,” Duffey said.
• Duffey awarded a reduced bond of $30,000 to a Buchanan man accused of sodomizing a 14-year-old.
Al-Malik Allah was denied bond six months ago by Simpson, but received a bond of $70,000 since then. His family was unable to make that bond, so his attorney, public defender Shikera Turner, requested the reduction.
The suspect has been in jail since July and has not been indicted by a grand jury yet. He is charged with aggravated sodomy, statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The state left it at the court’s discretion as to whether to grant the man’s request and lower his bond.
Duffey granted the reduction, reducing the bond by $40,000.
Cunningham said Allah has had several possession of marijuana convictions and other instances in his criminal history.
Allah’s mother, with whom he will reside if his bond is made, was present in court Thursday.