UPDATE: Judge increases bond for man accused of shooting Atlanta police officer
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Judge Alexandra Manning increased Christian Eppinger’s bond to $2 million during a hearing on Thursday.
Manning was criticized after his initial bond was set for $65,000. Many people felt that was not high enough for someone accused of shooting a police officer multiple times.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced she has asked the county’s chief superior court judge to make changes to how bond is granted in violent crime cases following Monday’s order granting bond to an accused cop shooter.
“It is something that has upset my law enforcement partners and also me as the district attorney,” Willis told reporters at a news conference.
Willis, for the first time, showed a video of the moment investigators say 22-year-old Christian Eppinger shot Officer David Rodgers six times as he tried to arrest him on a warrant for armed robbery.
“He really attempted to assassinate him,” Willis said. “Just by the grace of God, this officer lived.”
On Monday, Judge Alexandra Manning -- a magistrate judge temporarily allowed to help superior court judges handle a backlog of cases – granted Eppinger a $65,000 bond, pointing out that he’d been in custody 71 days without an indictment. State law grants prosecutors 90 days before an automatic bond takes effect, so it’s unclear why the judge made that ruling, especially when prosecutors argued that Eppinger is an “extremely dangerous gang member.”
After that ruling, according to prosecutors, Eppinger – or someone on his behalf – posted on Instagram, “The judge gave me a bond today. I’ll be home soon.”
“I want to be very clear for the public, though. Mr. Eppinger is not getting out of jail,” Willis said. “There is a hold on him from the Fulton County Jail.” Willis said Epinger has a sentencing hearing scheduled for next week on a probation revocation relating to a 2016 conviction in which he received first-offender status. She said the judge could sentence him to as many as 60 years in prison.
Just in case, however, the DA’s office has filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider Judge Manning’s bond ruling. That hearing is set for Thursday at 5 p.m.
“I have a problem with the process,” Willis said. “I have a problem with the fact that judges that are not elected, that are not superior court judges, would even have the authority right now to hear cases that involve gangs.”
Willis said she’s planning to meet with the chief judge of superior court to try to get that process changed.
As for the Instagram post, Fulton County Sheriff Patick Labat told reporters there’s currently a shakedown underway at the jail to look for cellphones and other contraband among inmates.
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