Monday, November 30, 2009

Why was Clemmons out of Jail? (Story Credit: KOMONews)

Story Published: Nov 30, 2009 at 6:35 PM PST

Story Updated: Nov 30, 2009 at 7:03 PM PST

Why was Clemmons out of jail?

Maurice Clemmons

SEATTLE -- Maurice Clemmons was arrested and charged in Pierce County with child rape and assault.

So, why was he out of jail?

Prosecutors say he was a potential three-strikes offender, and has a history as a fugitive from Arkansas.

But in spite of all that history, 37-year-old Clemmons was able to bond out of jail here not just once, but twice, surprising nearly everyone.

A Chehalis bonding company is now at the center of a hate campaign. People are livid that they posted the bond that got Clemmons out of jail last Monday.

The company owner spoke to KOMO News under the condition of anonymity, concerned for the safety of his family and his employees.

The man said when he met with Clemmons just days ago, nothing about his demeanor stood out or gave any indication this wasn't just another standard bond.

"We had a general, short conversation and everything seemed normal at the time -- as normal as can be, I guess," he said.

Clemmons had been charged with a total of eight felonies last spring, ranging from malicious mischief for throwing rocks, to assaulting a police officer and raping a child. In spite of a high bond - $190,000, he posted bail and got out of jail in July.

But in August, the Department of Corrections picked him up for a parole violation out of Arkansas.

And, just weeks ago, Pierce County prosecutors notified Clemmons he was a potential three-strikes offender which means if convicted, he faced life with no chance of parole.

The bonding company says they knew nothing about when they bailed him out last week.

"If we know somebody is looking at a life sentence, we don't do that bond just because the chances are they're not going to stick around to go back to jail," the owner said.

The bonding company owner says Clemmons' brother came up with $8,000 cash for the bond, and Clemmons himself signed a note to pay another $7,000, putting his house up as collateral for the rest of the bond.

Pierce County prosecutors say they originally asked the judge for a $200,000 bond, but the $190,000 bond ordered is one that most defendants can't raise.

Clemmons, clearly, wasn't most defendants.

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