The suspect in a fatal December shooting a Baltimore pub is out on bail, despite a federal drug record.
The shooting of Rodney Beamon Jr. , 32, happened Dec. 21 inside the Blarney Stone Pub in Fells Point.
According to investigators, Phillip West, 48, was identified by witnesses as the shooter. The two men knew each other, investigators said, and had argued before the shooting.West surrendered on Monday. A court commissioner ordered to hold him without bail, typically what happens in murder cases.But at a bail hearing on Tuesday, West's lawyer argued for West to be released and succeeded.
West is co-owner of the Get It Inn 2, in southeast Baltimore, lawyer Kenneth Ravenell argued. It’s important to note that was the bar that was raided the day after the slaying.And while West served time in federal prison, Ravenell said, he's had no arrests the past 10 years.
"There's no suggestion he is someone who presents a danger to anyone else in the community,” said Ravenell. “There's no suggestion there's some ongoing feud.”
Pretrial investigators and the prosecutor handling the bail hearing each recommended no bail.
The judge agreed with West's attorney.”There is no higher crime than that of first-degree murder,” said Judge Michael Studdard. “But counsel is correct: It is not an absolute bar for release if there are other conditions that can assure the public safety. The court will issue a bail of $100,000."It is unusual to see a murder suspect out on bail, but West is not the only case. There are at least two other murder cases in which defendants have been released on bail. One case is in Baltimore County and the other is in Harford County.The judge added GPS home monitoring as a condition of his release. West made bail and was released.Interim Baltimore City Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle, who has publicly criticized judges for treating suspected criminals too lightly, responded.”When we see individuals being let out, and we see that also goes to whether or not there is a deterrent for committing crime, and if there is no deterrent, then people are going to be willing to commit crime,” said Tuggle. Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen expressed outrage on Facebo