In response to police brutality and racial profiling, nonprofits are increasingly working to bail men and women of color out of jail because of, well, trumped up police charges and arrests.
But this is a cautionary tale about when the effort goes awry. A St. Louis man on Tuesday was charged with first-degree for reportedly killing his wife just hours after he was released from jail for a domestic violence case involving the woman, officials say.
Samuel Scott, 54, was released from jail on April 9 after a nonprofit group, The St. Louis Bail Project, posted a $5,000 bail for his domestic violence case, the New York Daily News reports.
He is now back in jail on $1 million bond on charges of killing his wife, Marcia Johnson, 54, police said.
A probable cause statement from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office revealed that Scott went to his wife’s home on April 9 at 7:45 p.m. after he was released. That same night, she was found unconscious with a broken eye socket. She also had several broken ribs and multiple bruises, authorities said. She died on Sunday.
Scott admitted to striking his wife, according to police.
“No one could have predicted this tragedy,” Bail Project Executive Director, Robin Steinberg said in a statement. “It’s important to remember that had he been wealthy enough to afford his bail, or bonded out by a commercial bail bond agency, he would have been free pretrial as well. In times like this, we must come together for this family and keep sight of the need to transform the larger systems that create poverty, racism and violence, including the pretrial bail system.”
St. Louis Bail Project, is a part of the Bail Project. The organization helps bail people out of jail who awaiting trial and can’t pay for their own bail.
Scott was previously charged with a misdemeanor domestic assault on April 5 after being accused forcibly hitting Johnson in the face. He injured her ear and cheekbone, according to ABC 13.
He reportedly threatened that he “might as well finish what (he) started since (she) was going to contact the police,” the probable cause statement stated.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner said in a statement that she plans to meet with Bail Project officials “to review their policies and practices” relating to domestic violence cases
Scott had prior convictions that dated back to the 1990s related to drug crimes and assault.