Transcripts show judge was set on lowering bond after June 2012 hearing

Published 7:33 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When 20-year-old Deandrea Keon Fuller was arrested and charged with Saturday’s murder of Antonio Boykin, authorities knew this was not the first time Fuller would face murder charges.

Fuller was already out on bond from an October 2011 murder, where he was involved in a shooting at now closed downtown club called 12th Stone. In that case, Fuller is accused of firing multiple shots into the club, killing his sister, Lavisha Tynae Fuller, and injuring four others, one critically.

In that October 2011 case, bond for Fuller and another defendant were set at $5 million, which has citizens in the community wondering how he could have been released.

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During a hearing in June 2012 to discuss Fuller’s bond, Angela Starr, a Montgomery attorney representing Fuller, argued the $5 million bond set by District Judge Bob Armstrong was “a ridiculous bond.”

“I can certainly understand those cases where there is a need for … a heightened bond,” Starr argued in front of Wiggins. “This does not present as one of those cases, though. There is a heightened bond and then there’s such a thing, I believe, your honor, as a ridiculous bond …”

In her arguments, Starr said Fuller did have ties to the community, although his parents and grandparents were deceased and was “not a flight risk.”

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Vernetta Perkins strongly opposed the reduction in bond, arguing during the hearing that Fuller was a danger to the community.

“He’s a threat,” Perkins said at the bond hearing. “He’s been a danger for a while. He has a history of violence that has escalated to the point of murder and more assaults, obviously showing a careless and a reckless disregard for the lives of the people in that club by shooting in it. And it’s nothing but the Grace of God that more people weren’t killed or shot.

“And so, the State would represent to the court that under these circumstances, they require the heightened bond outside of the limit to protect in the interest of justice to the community,” Perkins said.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Wiggins, while not issuing the final reduction, made it clear his intention was to lower the bond, but asked the two parties to compromise.

“I’m going to reduce it and give ya’ll a chance to work it out,” Wiggins told the attorneys. “If [you all] can’t work it out, I’ll reduce it. If ya’ll can work it out, that’s fine. I’m going to reduce his bond, but I haven’t given an amount yet. I’m going to give ya’ll a chance to work it out. If y’all can’t work it out, I’ll give y’all an order.”

Since the Fuller’s attorney and the district attorney’s office did not come to a compromise on Fuller’s bond, Wiggins signed an order in Oct. 2012 to reduce it to $100,000, which Fuller was able to post and was subsequently released from jail Jan. 9.

A message left at Wiggins’ office Wednesday afternoon by the Times-Journal was unreturned.

Wednesday, District Attorney Michael Jackson said his office was at the time disappointed by the judge’s decision, even more so considering recent developments.

“I wish the judges would understand why these bonds are set and asked for in the first place,” Jackson said. “With some individuals, we know they need to be held and are a danger to the community. Mr. Fuller was one of those individuals.”

Jackson said the bonds are not set by his office, but initially set by the arresting agency, in this case the Selma Police Department, which set Fuller’s bond in October 2011 at no bond until he went before Armstrong.

At that time, the district attorney’s office offered the recommendation of a $5 million bond to Armstrong, who agreed and set Fuller’s bond at that level.

In October 2011, Fuller was charged with murder, which is a class A felony, carrying a bond range of $5,000 to $50,000. But, Jackson said judges — in this case Armstrong — has the ability to set a bond much higher. Jackson also said judges have the ability to lower bonds to any level.

As for Saturday’s murder, authorities have charged Fuller with capital murder, which does not allow for a bond. Fuller remains in custody under no bond in the Dallas County Jail.