Alleged Lyft murder gunman: Detaining me without bail means I may lose my home
The fourth defendant arrested and charged in connection with last year’s Lyft rideshare murder has such an extensive history of failing to appear in court and such high New Jersey public safety risk assessment scores that a judge easily ordered him to remain incarcerated at the Mercer County jail without bail.
Hauled into a courtroom in his orange jumpsuit, Ronderrick Manuel, 43, of Trenton, appeared at his detention hearing Tuesday and attempted to portray himself as a hardworking man who would potentially lose his Chambersburg home if placed on pretrial detention.
Manuel, through his public defender Nicole Carlo, said he works two area jobs allowing him to afford his housing expenses and suggested he would be happy to be released on home detention and electronic ankle bracelet monitoring.
Superior Court Judge Peter Warshaw, however, said Manuel’s willingness to submit to electronic monitoring is “not sufficient” to warrant his release. “This is a serious, serious criminal history,” he said of Manuel’s record.
A regional U.S. Marshals task force arrested Manuel on Sunday, March, 26, on allegations he shot and killed Lyft rideshare passenger Amber Dudley, 27, of Collingswood, last November in a grisly robbery-turned-murder in Trenton.
The three other defendants in the case — Andrew Alston, Kasey Dezolt and Dominique Richter — have been charged with accomplice liability murder while Manuel is being prosecuted as the alleged principal gunman responsible for Dudley’s violent death on Nov. 30, 2016.
The state filed its detention motion against Manuel on the grounds that the defendant had very high risk assessment scores under New Jersey’s automated Public Safety Assessment or PSA that ranks the potential risk of a defendant failing to appear in court and the risk of a defendant committing new criminal activity and violence.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Grillo cited Manuel’s high PSA scores and noted that the murder charges against the defendant means “this is a case where there is a presumption of detention.”
To be released pretrial, Manuel would have needed to provide the judge with a very convincing rebuttal to the state’s motion and PSA recommendation calling for his detention.
Carlo, Manuel’s public defender, argued her client “does not present a flight risk” and said Manuel has ties to the community through his family and through his home ownership on the 100 block of Anderson Street and his employment at a halal meat market and wireless gadgets shop.
But Warshaw reviewed Manuel’s record and found the defendant had one failure to appear in the last two years and 11 failures to appear in court from 2002 to 2012 and that Manuel has previously served time in prison on serious charges.
Manuel committed statutory rape in another state and a couple of burglaries in the 1990s, according to records Warshaw read in court. The statutory rape conviction requires Manuel to register as a sex offender, but Warshaw said Manuel has a history of failing to comply with the registration requirement.
By having very high risk assessment scores, Warshaw said that “obviously demonstrates in and of itself compelling evidence” for why it was appropriate and fitting for Manuel to be indefinitely incarcerated at the Mercer County Correction Center without bail pending final resolution of his murder case that could end with an acquittal, conviction, plea deal or dismissal of all charges.
As such, Warshaw signed the detention order but said Manuel has the right to appeal the decision.
Manuel has a pre-indictment conference scheduled for Monday, May 8, before Superior Court Judge Robert Bingham II.