The trial was set. Adonis Lewis and two co-defendants were expected to appear in court and face murder charges in the brutal 2017 death of a man in DeKalb County.
But Lewis, 18, had been out on bond since August. And when the March 5 arraignment date rolled around, he was nowhere to be found, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said.
Instead, court records allege, he robbed a woman and her boyfriend at gunpoint in mid-April, threatening to shoot her in the face. He was rearrested last week, raising questions as to why he was out on bond despite facing murder charge.
His release was due to a state law that requires courts to grant bond if a suspect hasn’t been indicted within 90 days, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said. In this case, Lewis was arrested along with Antonio Wilson and Braindon Cayo in January 2018, about two months after they allegedly shot Tre Griffin once in the neck and took his cellphone and backpack in the Redan area, according to arrest warrants.
It’s not unheard of for a murder suspect to be granted bond; judges are tasked with taking several factors into account, including the suspect’s age, criminal history and flight risk. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2017 that at least 85 people charged with murder in DeKalb County were granted bond over a three-and-a-half-year period.
It’s impossible for a judge to know what each suspect might do while out on bond, and it is generally outside the norm for a suspect to disappear and commit a violent crime while awaiting trial for another one, experts say.
» FROM 2017: 3 held in DeKalb shooting death
But that’s what happened with two of the three suspects in the this case, police say.
The three suspects were initially indicted last year on five charges — included malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery — but the state decided to add more charges to the case, including drug and gun charges, court records show. It took several months before they were reindicted on the additional charges, and they were all granted bond.
Lewis was released on a $90,000 bond in August and ordered to either get his high school GED or a job. His previous attempts at bond had been denied.
DeKalb County DA’s office spokeswoman Yvette Jones said the case exceeded the 90-day threshold because it warranted “further investigation,” declining to comment further on the pending case.
More than a month after Lewis failed to appear for his murder trial arraignment, he was accused of taking $340 from a man while holding his girlfriend at gunpoint and threatening to shoot her in the face, according to arrest warrants. The couple had responded to an online ad about a laptop for sale, and met up with Lewis in the 4600 block of Covington Highway.
He was arrested at a home on April 29 and is being held at the DeKalb County Jail. A spokeswoman for the Georgia Public Defender Council declined to comment on the open case.
His co-defendants from the murder case have also been taken back into custody since being granted bond.
Antonio Wilson, 19, was rearrested in Doraville last September after driving more than 100 mph on I-285 in a stolen car with the back glass busted out. Braindon Cayo, also 19, had his bond revoked after missing a pre-trial hearing in March, records show.