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INDIANAPOLIS — The national nonprofit organization that paid the bail of a man accused of stabbing a gas station employee before allegedly murdering and dismembering his girlfriend received at least $250,000 from the city of Indianapolis and CICF over the last two years.

The Bail Project confirmed they were asked to pay Marcus Garvin’s $1,500 bond by his public defender in January. Despite objection from the state, Judge Shatrese Flowers lowered Garvin’s bond from $30,000 to $1,500.

The Bail Project released this statement to FOX59:

“We received a referral for bail assistance from Mr. Garvin’s public defender in January after the court lowered his bail from $30k to $1.500 and imposed GPS monitoring as a condition of release. As we do with all referrals, we interviewed Mr Garvin to gather information about his legal history, his ability to return to court, and to identify any unmet needs. He had a stable place to live with family and a plan to return to court to resolve his case.

Generally speaking, we take several factors into consideration, including the types of needs the person might have and whether we can connect them to adequate services. In this case, the bail reduction was a key factor in the decision as it indicated that the court wanted to facilitate his release.” 

David Gaspar, National Director of Operations at The Bail Project

Garvin was charged with battery by means of a deadly weapon and battery resulting in serious bodily injury for a stabbing at a Circle K on Shadeland Avenue on December 26, 2020. Documents said he was irritated the victim was in the bathroom too long.

According to CICF, the city gave the Bail Project $50,000 in September 2019 and $100,000 in December 2020 as part of the Violent Crime Prevention Grants Program. This is funded with tax dollars, allocated by the City-County Council and directed by the Indianapolis Foundation, which is a part of CICF.

CICF said this grant money was earmarked for staffing and wraparound services.

The Indianapolis Foundation, a part of CICF, awarded $100,000 through two grants to the Bail Project. Both of those awards were earmarked for staffing. The funds are provided by the Indianapolis Foundation.

CICF provided this information to FOX59:

CICF administers city grants related to community crime prevention, using criteria set by the Indianapolis City Council. Criteria for funding include demonstrating partnerships with public agencies; improving safety in IMPD patrol districts; focusing on integrated, evidence-based outreach activities; and “providing intervention services for youth (16-24) and adults (24-30) currently interacting with the criminal justice system to community-based services to build the necessary infrastructure to prevent violent crime in Indianapolis and capable of delivering measurable results in the areas of employment and job retention for the population(s) of focus.”

  • The Violent Crime Prevention Grant Program in 2020-2021, as administered by Central Indiana Community Foundation, awarded $100,000 to The Bail Project in December 2020 for local operations including staffing in Indianapolis and connection to wraparound services.
  • The Community Crime Prevention Grant Program in 2019-2020, as administered by Central Indiana Community Foundation, awarded $50,000 to The Bail Project in September 2019 for local operations including staffing in Indianapolis and connection to wraparound services.

The Bail Project was awarded because the organization provides intervention services to the target population (African American males aged 24-30 engaged with the criminal justice system) by ensuring individuals show up for their court appointments and connecting them to wraparound resources that build stability in areas such as education, employment, housing, substance use and mental health. In addition, The Bail Project has demonstrated a 96% court appearance rate for clients. All clients are asked about their needs and provided voluntary referrals to support services, with the most common request being for physical health services.

The Bail Project is also one of Central Indiana Community Foundation’s 4,000+ annual grantees. The Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of CICF, has awarded two grants of $50,000 each to The Bail Project for operations and staffing.

We reached out to Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office for more information:

“Since 2013, the City has partnered with the Indianapolis Foundation and CICF, an independent, nonprofit grant provider to select, monitor, and confirm the distribution of the violent crime prevention grant program, ensuring there is transparency and accountability in the way these dollars are spent. Through this competitive grant process, funding was awarded to the Indianapolis chapter of the Bail Project exclusively for operations and services such as assessing client needs, arranging transportation, and connecting individuals with wrap-around services. City dollars were not directed towards paying direct cash bail for any individuals.

Just as we invest unprecedented resources to combat violence, the City is committed to identifying and correcting gaps in the criminal justice system that permit cycles of violence to continue.”

Mark Bode, spokesman for Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office

We also reached out to the Indianapolis City-County Council for comment:

“The death of Christie Holt is a tragedy grieved by every member of this Council and our entire community. The Council remains deeply committed to working with all partners to break the cycle of violence and address its root causes in Indianapolis.”

Angela Plank, spokeswoman for the Indianapolis City-County Council

Garvin allegedly murdered his longtime girlfriend, Christie Holt. Court records detail a gruesome murder.

After being stabbed to death at the Always Inn on East 21st Street last month, Holt was left to decompose for nearly a week. Records said they were called to the hotel on July 30 before 5 a.m. on a report of a suspicious person pulling a sheet “with something heavy” into a wooded area.

They found Christie’s body wrapped in the sheet. The motel manager told police Christie and Marcus had been living in the hotel since December 2020.

Surveillance video showed a man dragging the heavy sheet, and at one point a human arm fell out and the man quickly placed it back into the sheet, documents say.

Court records show when officers arrived, they found Garvin had cut off his GPS monitor and appeared ready to flee. They also state Garvin later went into detail about what and why the incident occurred.

Christie’s loved ones said they feared Garvin would hurt or kill her after years of abuse.

“When I say abuse it wasn’t just like he punched her one time,” Felicia Myers said. “He beat her until he felt that he was done.”

The Marion Superior Court Probation Department, charged with monitoring those on pre-trial release, said people on pre-trial GPS monitoring have “unrestricted movements” aside from any places ordered by the court to stay away from or those in a protective order.

The department said Garvin was placed on GPS monitoring on Jan. 22 and was to have no contact near the noted individuals in the protective order and to maintain the operation of the device at all times. We are still working to learn whether Holt was a person he was ordered to stay away from.

“If they would have left him in there, he wouldn’t have killed her, he wouldn’t have had a chance because he’d be locked up,” Lisa Fox, Christie’s biological mom, said. “So, I blame a lot on the system right now. They let Christie down.”

Holt’s family say changes are needed for pre-trial monitoring.

“It makes you wonder, when is there going to be change,” Patty Myers, Christie’s aunt, said. “When is there going to be a time that they start realizing something has to be done? Because what’s going to happen is women are going to keep being afraid to talk. They’re going to be afraid to come forward.”

The Bail Project began its operations in Indianapolis in November 2018. The organization said it works to “combat mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.”

According to their records, the organization said Indianapolis clients have a 96% court appearance rate of 2,872 court dates from November 2018-June 2021. The Bail Project adds 22% of clients in Indy have had their cases dismissed.

The Bail Project provided this statement on Friday afternoon:

“Funds provided through the Crime Prevention Grant were restricted to local operational expenses, meaning the coordination of support services for people who receive charitable bail assistance, including transportation to court, court reminders, and referrals to social services. None of these funds went into our revolving bail fund. It’s also important to note that a goal of our community-based model of pretrial support is to address the unmet needs that a person might have, be it housing, substance use, or mental health, which might be driving them into contact with the criminal legal system in the first place. In many cases, this can prevent crime by addressing the root causes of a person’s justice involvement. It will not work every time as these social issues are complex, many people have severe needs, and human behavior is largely unpredictable. But the goal is to move away from an approach that sweeps people into jails and sends them back into society worse off. This approach clearly has not worked.”

David Gaspar, National Director of Operations, The Bail Project