Police group, chief blast bonds set in officer's death - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Police group, chief blast bonds set in fatal officer hit-and-run

The three suspects. The three suspects.
A photo released Wednesday of a man described as a "person of interest," spotted in surveillance video outside the body shop where the Porsche Panamera was found (NOPD) A photo released Wednesday of a man described as a "person of interest," spotted in surveillance video outside the body shop where the Porsche Panamera was found (NOPD)
New Orleans, La. -

The city's police chief and an attorney for the city's largest police organization rarely agree. But on the issue of bonds for the suspects in a fatal police hit-and-run, they are angry.

Two of three suspects have already bonded out, and now the attorney for the New Orleans chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police wants a judge to reconsider the bond amounts.

The police chief and FOP attorney Raymond Burkart, III both say the $50,000 bond set for the alleged driver of the Porsche Panamera, 25-year-old Justin McKey, is too low. He's already out of jail.

A total of three suspects have been arrested in the fatal hit-and-run of Ofc. Rodney Thomas, early Sunday morning on the I-10 high rise bridge. And police are looking for two more men, described as persons of interest.  

One man was captured on video outside a body shop. The other, whose photo was distributed by police Thursday afternoon, is simply described as a "rather short" man who detectives believe may have information involving Thomas's death.

Two of the suspects, including McKey, have already bonded out.

"I'm mad about it. I don't get a chance to be a judge, but I'm not satisfied as all," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

A magistrate judge set McKey's bond at $50,000 for allegedly driving the car that slammed into Ofc. Thomas.

"I can tell you, we are outraged. We understand that bail is not a punishment, but this guy has a clear history of running," said Burkart.

Bond was set at $100,000 each for two other suspects. Bill Cager has already made that bond, after being charged with obstruction of justice and accessory after the fact to manslaughter. Cager was previously arrested for altering or removing vehicle identification numbers from cars, illegal possession of a stolen car and unauthorized use of a vehicle. But the former DA refused those charges in 2002.

Defendant Kenneth Halley is also charged with fatal hit-and-run as well as obstruction of justice.  He too is no stranger to the city's court system. Halley's bond was set at $100,000, even though he has nine arrests dating back to 2004. They include arrests for second-degree murder in 2005, a charge which was dropped. Halley is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Burkart said, "We ask the DA's office to file a motion asking that those bonds be raised."

A source says the investigation is now focusing on the exact locations of each suspect before, during and after the crime. An examination of cellphone records may also be in the offing.

"Our investigation continues. We don't know what the bottom line will be, but every hour we're learning more and more," said Serpas.

The chief predicts the latest person of interest will be located soon. "Get a lawyer, get a minister, whoever you want because you ought to come in and talk, because every day we're finding out more information," said Serpas.

Halley is not likely to go anywhere - the court has placed a hold on him for a parole violation. But many are wondering about bonds that they consider too low, especially since these suspects allegedly have already tried to flee.

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