Murder suspect Steven Mason was in court Monday, March 27. Mason pleaded not guilty in the 2015 shooting death of Kelei Morris.
Morris, who was 24 at the time of her death, was shot outside of her West Mobile apartment in February of 2015. A South Alabama graduate, Morris worked as a respiratory therapist at Mobile Infirmary.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Wright was adamant in arguing Mason should not be given bond, saying he is, "a real and present danger" to the community.
"We believe he poses a real threat and danger to this community at large," says Wright.
However, defense attorney Arthur Madden argued his client has a right to bond because this is not a capital case. Madden talked about Mason's involvement in the community.
Wright also told the court that Mason has had communication with witnesses while in jail and that he has made threats to witnesses involved since the crime.
Mason has been in a courtroom before, accused of murder. He was arrested in 2002 at the age of 18 for the murder of his 17-year-old girlfriend Mesha Anglin. Anglin's family says he was convicted in the case but only served three years in prison after receiving youthful offender status.
Retired Judge Rusty Johnston made that decision almost 15 years ago. He told FOX10's Alexa Knowles that the decision was obvious at the time.
"He met the criteria, and there was nothing in opposition that said I shouldn't...he [the prosecutor] said, well he's charged with murder. And I said, that can't be the sole basis to deny it."
Johnston says Mason had a clean record and a good family life, which played big roles in the decision. He says he doesn't think Anglin's shooting death was a crime worthy of being denied the status.
FOX10 News reported last week that the DA's office filed an order to the Alabama Department of Corrections for all records on Mason, including all "youthful offender" documents, which are sealed. But when we look at online court records now, that document is no longer there, which means that too has been sealed.
When Mason's sealed records came up in court, Wright and Madden talked privately with the judge. Madden would not comment after the hearing.
A hearing has been set for June. Mason will remain behind bars until then.
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