Misdemeanor charge led to bond for accused killer
INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County prosecutors knew Jermerrell Hubbard, 20, was a risk to re-offend when they asked a magistrate last Saturday to place him on a seven-day hold while they pursued a Level 5 felony gun charge against him.
Too late, said the magistrate: Hubbard had already been freed from jail the day before on a $150 bond on a misdemeanor gun charge.
A FOX59 investigation has revealed a possible records discrepancy and a court rule intended to enhance the right of defendants to bond that set Hubbard free to allegedly commit murder days later.
On Monday, IMPD homicide detectives reported that Hubbard shot to death 20-year-old Brian Ward, Jr., in the 2500 block of Plaza Drive.
Detectives tracked down Hubbard driving the same car they said officers found him in last Thursday in the same apartment complex as the killing wearing a ski mask with a covered-up license plate and a gun.
Crime gun analysts are now attempting to tie Hubbard’s firearm not only to Ward’s killing but another non-fatal shooting.
At the time, Hubbard was still on probation for his Jan. 20 guilty plea to a marijuana charge.
He told homicide detectives he couldn’t remember his arrest on Jan. 26 because he has short-term memory loss from COVID.
A state lawmaker wonders why Hubbard was released on such a low bond on a gun charge three days before the killing without seeing a judge.
”When we start talking about the possession of a handgun, the illegal possession of a handgun, a habitual offender, when we start talking about multiple pages of criminal history and then serious issues like a handgun that would kill someone, a judge has to make that decision,” said Senator Aaron Freeman, a Republican from Marion County. ”It is my position that every single criminal defendant in Indiana should have their case, their probable cause, their charging information presented to a judge. A live human being needs to examine all information and make a good informed decision on each individual case.”
Hubbard’s MyCase file indicates he was released Friday under Marion Superior Court’s Bonds Assessment Reporting System (BARS) which is intended to set bond protocols for bail commissioners to consider when faced with misdemeanor defendants and Level 6 accused felons.
According to an IMPD arrest report, Hubbard was taken into custody last Thursday night on a Level 5 felony of “HANDGUN-UNLAWFUL CARRY-PRIOR FELONY-LAST 15 YEARS,” related to the marijuana guilty plea of Jan. 20.
And while Hubbard’s booking information at the Adult Detention Center lists both the Level 5 “Unlawful Carry” and the Class A Misdemeanor “Possession by a prohibited person,” the Court Administrator told FOX59 News that the defendant faced only the misdemeanor charge when the bail commissioner considered his case Friday morning which is why a low bond was set and met and Hubbard returned to the streets.
”When you give judges a set of facts, and then they don’t take the information in a vacuum, they look at it, they look at all the information that they have, what’s the nature of the allegation, what’s the fact pattern, what’s your criminal history, do you have a place to go home to, all of those factors, I believe, they come into then, what’s the appropriate bond for this person?” observed Freeman. “If a judge, is not making those decisions, then that’s a great concern to all of us.”
The FOX59 investigation revealed that the arresting officers charged Hubbard with a Level 5 felony, his booking information at the ADC lists both the Level 5 felony and the A misdemeanor, the Court Administrator finds that Hubbard appeared before a bail commissioner charged only with the misdemeanor and the next day prosecutors sought a seven-day hold while charging Hubbard with the Level 5 felony, which, of course, was too late because the defendant had already bailed out of jail.
The Prosecutor’s Office said perhaps the jail booking information from two days before was updated after Hubbard’s release to include the Level 5 felony.
Hubbard is being held now with no bond on the murder charge, $30,000 bond on the probation violation and under the threat of serving out another year on the marijuana conviction.