NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -“A $200 bond for something like this is certainly something that should be out of the question,” says District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro worries about the public’s safety and the safety of a crime victim after 29-year-old Gino McDowell posted a $200 cash bond and got out of jail for witness intimidation. It all started in July when police arrested McDowell for the attempted armed robbery of Jack’s Meat Market in the St. Roch neighborhood.
“He was able to make a significant bond after being involved in this attempted armed robbery,” says Cannizzaro.
McDowell first bonded out on a $25,000 bond, but police say he then returned to the same crime scene and confronted the same clerk he was accused of trying to rob.
“Essentially demanding of the victim of this crime that he give him back the money that he had to pay for the bail in order to secure his release, a rather bold move on his part,” says Cannizzaro.
The victim did not comply, and weeks later, police say McDowell returned again. This time, they say he threatened the victim’s life.
“He indicates to the victim that he’s causing problems for him and threatens to kill the victim of the attempted armed robbery,” says Cannizzaro.
The victim called police, but before the police could arrest McDowell on witness intimidation, they say he burglarized a vehicle.
While in jail on that, he was also booked with battery on a correctional officer. On each of those charges, the magistrate judge gave McDowell a $10,000 bond. Again, he was able to bond out.
“This is an individual who has not only a significant past of violent activity, but is again engaging in violent criminal activity,” says Cannizzaro.
On August 22nd, police arrested McDowell for the witness intimidation.
“The thing that is very disturbing about this is that when this defendant appears before the judge to set bond for the public intimidation, the judge sets a $200 bond - almost insulting,” says Cannizzaro.
McDowell posted that $200 cash bond the next day.
Since then, the DA’s office asked a magistrate judge for a bond increase, which the judge granted, and issued a warrant for McDowell’s arrest on a now $15,000 bond.
Still, McDowell remains at large.
“You have to be concerned about the safety of the victim in this case. There as no concern for the victim in this case because if there was, he wouldn’t have given a $200 bond for witness intimidation,” says Cannizzaro.
We attempted to reach out to the victim in this case, but when we arrived at Jack’s Meat Market, we were met with resistance from people in the neighborhood. They told us to leave and that the store was closed.
“His prior record, the crime, the threat he poses to the people of New Orleans and the fact that he’s out on a bond for a crime of violence should have been significant enough to say this is an individual who does not deserve to be out on bond,” says Cannizzaro.
We spoke to the victim by phone and he said he is scared and he hopes police catch McDowell soon.