CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Channel 9 is investigating a problem that has plagued Charlotte for years -- suspects in violent crimes being let out of jail on electronic monitors, only to cut them off.
“The criminal justice system keeps implementing lenient policies. The violent crime rate continues to go up,” Charlotte resident Marcus Philemon said.
Eyewitness News reporter Mark Becker has investigated this issue for years, and has learned about another suspect now on the run.
Alec Foster, 23, has been in and out of jail since he was 16 years old, leaving a long trail of victims behind.
Most recently, police said just two weeks ago on Hovis Road, where the street was littered with bullet shells after a 14- and 15-year-old had just been shot. The next day, police in Lexington stopped a car after a high-speed chase and arrested Foster.
Prosecutors said in their motion they went to court twice in five days to argue that Foster should be held without bond because he was too dangerous to be out on the streets. The second time was last week.
Foster refused to show up for his remote hearing.
Prosecutors said Judge Renee Little did not revoke Foster’s bonds both times.
Prosecutors will be back in court Tuesday in front of a different judge to ask to revoke the bonds because he poses an unreasonable risk of harm to the community.
In Charlotte, Foster was arrested two days ago for the shootings on Hovis Road, and the county’s Pretrial Services did what’s called a Public Safety Assessment.
“This was created in order to make better decisions,” Philemon said.
Philemon, who spent 11 years as the leader of Mecklenburg County’s courtwatch, showed Becker on the assessment where he believes the system broke down.
“It mentions violence, it mentions failure to appear, it mentions felony convictions -- All the things that would really assess someone’s violent behavior and throw up a flag,” he said.
There is even a flag on the form.
Foster scored a 5 out of 6 on the two-risk scales, but still qualified for pretrial supervision and an electronic monitor that police said he cut off almost as soon as he got it.
He is now on the run and Philemon said he’s seen it too many times.
“At some point the criminal justice system has to look and realize that there’s a reason that violent crime is on the rise. It’s because the decisions they make are basically allowing these offenders to go out and continue to rack up victims,” Philemon said.
Channel 9 contacted the county’s Criminal Justice Services to ask about Foster’s case. They said that they consider more than just those evaluations when deciding who gets pretrial supervision, and that most of those with Foster’s scores do go to court and don’t commit more crimes.