Bail upheld for alleged accomplice in Trenton murder
TRENTON >> The attorney for an admitted drug dealer charged as an accomplice to murder rhapsodized at a Tuesday bail hearing about injustice. But prosecutors needed only point to the man’s previous rap sheet in order to convince Judge Robert Billmeier to leave bail unchanged.
Daniel McCargo, 29, who is being held on $300,000 cash-only bail, appeared to have everything going in his favor. His attorney, Maleika Montgomery, argued her client was not as “culpable” as alleged gunman Curtis Grier for the fatal shooting death of 24-year-old Jahmir Hall in April 2014.
That argument was bolstered when prosecutors previously offered to drop murder charges against McCargo if he agreed to cooperate and testify against Grier, who is free on $300,000 bail. Prosecutors also conceded Tuesday they would have a hard time proving to a jury McCargo shared Grier’s alleged intent to kill.
Surveillance footage shows a man authorities believe is McCargo standing outside a black Mercedes Benz while Grier allegedly shot Hall on Quinton Avenue in the early-morning hours of April 19, 2014, prosecutors said. Grier was not captured in the footage, prosecutors said, but gunshots can be heard.
Authorities later spotted the two men in a vehicle matching a description. McCargo attempted to hide a black handgun, but ballistics revealed it wasn’t the same one used in the murder.
Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley once again pointed to McCargo’s prior criminal record, which court records show includes convictions for narcotics sand weapons offenses, to justify the cash-only requirement.
He also said McCargo was “complicit” in the murder because he did not attempt to contact police and continued driving around with Grier for a half-hour after the murder, until they were stopped by police.
“He’s different because of his prison record,” McCauley said, comparing McCargo to Grier, who does not have a record.
Both men, facing the possibility of life in prison if they’re convicted by a jury at trial, were offered plea bargains calling for 30-year sentences for murder.
McCargo has refused to testify against Grier as part of a plea deal that would have required him to admit guilt to a lesser crime, prosecutors said. Both men, who appeared in court last week for a hearing on a dismissal motion, are due back in court in June for a status hearing.