‘A slap in the face’: Charlotte murder suspect supposed to be on house arrest leads deputies on high-speed chase

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — Deputies said a man who was supposed to be on house arrest for a 2019 murder in Charlotte was arrested Thursday night after a high-speed chase through Cabarrus County.

His arrest renews a debate: Should suspects with serious charges against them be let out on electronic monitors while they await trial?

The same day the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced in December of 2019 that they would no longer put electronic monitors on murder suspects who were out on bond, 18-year-old Michael Sio-Somah walked out of the jail without a monitor.

Sio-Somah, who was 16 years old at the time, had been arrested in June of 2019 for a deadly shooting during a party at an Airbnb in uptown Charlotte.

Six months later, a judge ruled he could await trial from home, but Sio-Somah was not at home late Thursday night when Cabarrus County deputies said he led them on a high-speed chase on Highway 49.

According to deputies, Sio-Somah drove off during a traffic stop. They said he eventually stopped on Kent Avenue and ran into his home. A gun was also found inside his car.

He has been charged with felony fleeing and eluding arrest and possession of a firearm.

“It’s a slap in the face for the families to go through life without their loved ones,” Lucille Puckett who is the mother of a murder victim.

Puckett went to court with the mother of Sio-Somah’s alleged victim when prosecutors tried to keep him in jail.

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Her son had also been murdered five years ago. His alleged killer is also out on bond and she says it hurts.

“I have no faith … and it’s sad to say, in the judicial system,” she said.

Sio-Somah’s attorney, Norman Butler, told Channel 9 that there’s more to his client’s story than he can share right now.

Prosecutors filed a motion Friday morning to revoke Sio-Somah’s bond and put him back in jail. They said bond and house arrest “have not prevented the defendant from committing additional crimes and endangering the public.”

In 2019, then CMPD Chief Kerr Putney announced the department would stop monitoring defendants in murder cases who are released from jail. Time and money were two of the factors in that decision. The electronic monitoring program costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and uses the resources of seven officers.

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