As Florida lawmakers examine what's wrong and what's right with the criminal justice system, you may be surprised to learn that in Tallahassee one accused killer is free on bond, and another is trying to convince the judge he deserves his freedom too.
Last January, Sarah Lynn Smith was arrested for shooting and killing her boyfriend Tim Robinson during a domestic dispute. Two months later she was freed on bond.
The single mother and longtime state employee was not considered a flight risk or a danger to the public.
"An accused person has the right to pre-trial release under the constitution unless they are charged with a capital offense, which is one that's punishable by death or life imprisonment. Other than that, everyone is presumed innocent under our constitution and presumed eligible for pre-trial release," says Nancy Daniels, Public Defender.
By all accounts smith has followed the rules, shown up for every hearing and awaits trial later this spring. Just a few weeks ago, victor parker went to court to request that he too be freed on bond.
Parker is accused of shooting and killing his fiancé Evelyn Rosado as she sat in a car on Hartsfield Court. This is the anniversary of Rosado's death and the thought of parker going free before his trial makes Evelyn's friends livid.
Cecile Kemp, Evelyn Rosado's Friend, "My opinion is if they have been charged with a violent crime, they simply should not have the right to be out on bond. Until they are proven innocent, they are a threat to our society and should be kept in jail."
A decision in that case is expected next month. Now, both prosecutors and defense attorneys point out these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and the Florida Supreme Court has ruled in the past that judges do have discretion to grant bond even in murder cases.