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Facing death penalty, defendant appeals for lower bond

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A former Morehouse College student, who is facing the death penalty, appealed to have his bond amount reduced, in Clayton County Superior Court, Wednesday.

Miles Jonathan Allen, 22, is charged, along with three other men, with the June 2006 torture and murder of 23-year-old Carlnell James Walker, a Morehouse student majoring in business administration.

Allen was once free on a $100,000 bond, and his lawyer asked to have him released from jail again.

Allen was previously granted bond, because it took more than 90 days for prosecutors to indict him, but was arrested again when the grand jury indictment included additional charges.

In May, attorneys for the defense and the prosecution argued about the bond and whether it should cover all of the charges stemming from the original allegations or whether it should only cover the specific charges mentioned in the first bond hearing.

Clayton County Superior Court Judge Matthew O. Simmons granted an additional bond, for Allen, setting the amount at an additional $180,000.

Allen's family paid more than $17,000 to a bond company, to get the 22-year-old released from jail while his case is pending trial, but could not afford the added amount. His court-appointed attorney, Herbert Adams, pleaded with the court to consider Allen's circumstances and reduce the bond to an amount the family could afford.

"He has health problems, your honor," Adams said. "There's a leakage in one of his heart valves ... He's not able, obviously, here in Clayton County, to get that regularly monitored."

While out on bond before, Allen lived at home with his mother and younger brother and worked two jobs, Adams said. He adhered to the restrictions set by the bond and "there was no issue with him violating," the attorney argued.

John Turner, Clayton County executive assistant district attorney, said the case changed, when it became a death penalty case.

"Anybody who has a death penalty case, who has a bond, and who doesn't run, has a mental issue, as far as I'm concerned," he said.

Turner scoffed at Allen's reported health problems, saying a weak heart did not stop him from torturing a young man to death. He reminded the judge of Allen's confessed participation in Walker's murder.

"He wasn't a passive observer," Turner said. "Look at what he said he did ... He held [Walker] down, while another defendant stabbed him in the hand. He was one of the people who tied up this victim and placed him in a trunk."

Allen, however, has already received bond, despite the prosecutor's protests. The scope of the Wednesday morning hearing was limited to the bond amount, Adams pointed out.

"The issue is not whether he was involved and a person died and there are some graphic photographs," the defense attorney said. "The issue is the bond amount for an indigent defendant."

After viewing some of the crime scene photographs, Judge Matthew Simmons said he wasn't going to reduce the bond amount. He said he had carefully considered the bond, when he set it. He described the current total of $280,000 as "generous."

Allen's trial is expected to take place sometime this year.