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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

City Nights Homicide: Tempers Flare at Reggie Allen's Bond Hearing

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

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On June 3, a grand jury in St. Clair County indicted Reggie Allen for reckless homicide. They believed he used a pickup truck to mow down Anthony Rice outside an East St. Louis bikini bar back in October 2009 (check out our January cover story, "Left for Dead").

Since being indicted, Allen has turned himself in. The grand jury apparently wanted to keep him under lock and key, recommending a $500,000 bond -- a hefty sum for that charge in that county.

But he's already walking free.

On Friday, Allen and his lawyer, Tom Daley, appeared before a judge, seeking to lower his bond.

Two factors need to be weighed, the judge said: (1) whether Allen is a flight risk, and (2) whether he's a danger to the community.

St. Clair County assistant state's attorney Joseph Christ had nothing to suggest Allen was a flight risk.

But was he a danger to those around him, the judge asked? Christ referred to Allen as an "ongoing problem" in Metro East, mentioning his four prior felony convictions (Christ glossed over the dismissals of sixteen other felonies, plus several lesser-but-still-violent offenses).

Yet in this particular case, the judge wanted to know, if the state considered Allen such a danger, why did it take them seventeen months to indict him?

Thorough investigations take time, Christ suggested; for example, a blood sample had been taken from the front bumper of Allen's F-150 pickup truck, and only recently did the DNA test come back showing a match to Anthony Rice.

"I'm not critical of police agencies of being thorough," the judge said. "But from your and Mr. Daley's comments, there's no indication of any additional reckless acts since October 3, 2009" -- the date of Rice's death.

Christ could've responded that, in fact, Allen has run afoul of the law twice since the City Nights incident:

  • Allen was arrested for (and subsequently pleaded guilty to) reckless driving in Lee County, Florida on April 29, 2010.
  • He was charged with aggravated battery for an incident that happened in Cahokia, Illinois, on September 15, 2010. 

But Christ didn't seem aware of these facts, and the judge wasn't convinced. He cut down Allen's bond by more than half, setting it at $200,000, according to the circuit clerk's office.

Attorney Justin Meehan, an uncle of the victim Anthony Rice, was reportedly irate. Believing Christ hadn't properly prepared for the hearing, Meehan confronted the prosecutor in a heated exchange -- which ended up with the bailiffs threatening to throw Meehan out of the building.

According to court records, Allen has posted bond and has been released from jail.

"We don't expect to get any justice from the criminal court over in Belleville," Meehan says. "It looks like it's just business as usual over there."

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