INDIANAPOLIS — When IMPD officers arrested Jermerrell Hubbard with a gun at the Carlton Apartments last Thursday, just six days after he was placed on probation for pleading guilty to a felony marijuana charge, their first instinct was to charge him with Level 5 Felony of Unlawful Carry of a handgun due to a previous felony conviction.
But by the time Hubbard arrived at the Adult Detention Center, the booking charge had been reduced to an A Misdemeanor as a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
An examination of State Code indicates that Hubbard’s guilty plea on Jan. 20, though a felony, did not rise to the level of a F5 gun charge which would have led to a higher bond.
When Hubbard went in front of a Bail Commissioner the next morning, before prosecutors had a chance to review his case, the 20-year-old qualified for $150 bond, which he made and was back out on the street in time for lunch.
It wasn’t until the next day that Marion County prosecutors bumped up Hubbard’s misdemeanor gun charge to a felony and sought a seven day hold from a magistrate who denied the motion, citing Hubbard’s freedom on bail the day before.
On Monday, IMPD homicide detectives report that Hubbard returned to the northside apartment complex where he was arrested just days before and shot to death Brian Ward Jr., 20, and stole his shoulder bag.
When Hubbard was arrested the next day and questioned, he said he forgot about the felony marijuana conviction just eleven days before because he had short term memory loss due to COVID.
Hubbard’s now being held without bond on the murder charge and a $30,000 bond on the enhanced previous gun charge.
One state lawmaker told Fox 59 News that no matter how low the gun charge, a judge or magistrate should review the file and the defendant before setting bond.
”We trust judges,” said Sen. Aaron Freeman, a republican from Marion County. “They’re duly elected. We need to make sure they have all of the information necessary, a good charging information, a good probable cause, but I believe everybody should have the opportunity to be seen by a judge. I don’t think any decision should be made without human eyeballs on a situation.”
Once the magistrate rejected the deputy prosecutor’s attempt to put a seven day hold on Hubbard, no further efforts were made to revoke his bail and bring him back into custody.
A veteran jurist told Fox 59 News that once a defendant is released on bond, he becomes the responsibility of the Probation Department and it’s up to that agency to seek bond revocation if a defendant violates terms of probation.
The judge said that while the prosecutor, in theory, could have sought Hubbard’s bond revocation, rarely does the State step in and make such a motion, which even if granted, likely would not have resulted in Hubbard’s arrest before the Monday killing.