Lawyer for Trenton murder suspect calls cash bail requirement “injustice”
The attorney for a city man charged with murder in the shooting death of 24-year-old Jahmar Hall said it’s an “injustice” her client remains jailed on a $300,000 cash-only bail while the alleged killer is at liberty awaiting trial.
Daniel McCargo, 28, an alleged accomplice of Curtis Grier, has been held at the Mercer County Correction Center since he was arrested last April. Grier, 28, has been free since posting a $300,000 bail shortly after his arrest last April, Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley said.
The men have been offered plea deals that call for 30-year prison sentences on charges of first-degree murder and weapons offenses in connection with the April 19, 2014 murder, McCauley said. Both men entered not guilty pleas at brief status hearings Monday in Superior Court.
Grier, wearing a green quilted sweater and blue jeans, was gathering his belongings at the back of the courtroom and getting ready to leave when marshals brought out McCargo. That led to an awkward moment when McCargo’s attorney, Malaeika Montgomery, identified Grier as the shooter in open court.
McCargo, outfitted in orange prison garb with his hands shackled in front of him, locked eyes with Grier and shook his head.
McCargo was seen with Grier shortly after the early-morning shooting on Quinton Avenue, authorities said. Police responded to a report of shots fired and found Hall lying partially under a pickup truck. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Witnesses told police they saw two men flee the scene in a black Mercedes Benz. Grier and McCargo were spotted a short time later in a vehicle matching the description. Police said McCargo attempted to hide a black handgun.
At the hearing, Montgomery downplayed her client’s involvement in the murder, saying he wasn’t the one who shot and killed Hall. Also, she said, the handgun her client allegedly hid wasn’t used in the murder, which is backed up by ballistics tests.
Prosecutors pointed to McCargo’s prior criminal record, which court records show includes convictions for narcotics sand weapons offenses, in asking for the cash-only stipulation at his bail hearing.
“It’s an injustice that the shooter is at liberty and my client remains in jail,” Montgomery said.
McCauley agreed Grier is the shooter, but he said McCargo is “equally culpable.”