Blair COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Inmates awaiting trial in Blair County could be released on reduced or unsecured bail due to COVID-19 concerns.
President Judge Elizabeth Doyle held bail modification hearings Tuesday for about 10 defendants.
District attorney, Peter Weeks, is concerned this could be a risk to the community.
“We have seen releases for people charged with a felon, not to poses firearm, aggravated assault, high-level drug trafficking, criminal attempt to homicide,” Weeks said.
However, defense attorney, Thomas Dickey said he believes the judge did consider the safety of the community as well as other factors such as making sure they will show up for court.
“The commonwealth is always going to allege the seriousness of the crime and the danger to the public because that’s what they need to do to keep somebody in jail, thank goodness the law says you have to look at many many more factors than that and that’s what judge Doyle did today,” Dickey said.
Weeks said the court has released inmates over their objection this past year who later was accused of other violent crimes, such as Justin Le Fevre.
“He was charged with possession in an attempt to deliver and a felon not to possess a firearm in August of 2020 he was then charged by the Logan Township Police Department with aggravated assault and criminal attempt to homicide for allegedly shooting someone in an attempted robbery in front of Greenwood Sheetz,” Weeks said.
One of the defendants in court Tuesday was Timothy McLendon, who is charged with attempted homicide and has been awaiting trial in jail for almost a year.
His 300,000 dollar cash bail was reduced to an unsecured bond.
“The judge was told a lot of factors today, we believe he acted in self-defense and if the commonwealth can’t prove that he didn’t act in self-defense then he goes free so why should he sit in jail waiting for that to happen,” Dickey said.
Weeks said he is hoping jury trials resume soon so they can move these cases forward and continue to protect the community.