Judge maintains $1 million bond for DaJuan Russell

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

District Court Judge Kevin Eddinger did not give in to the pleas of the attorney representing DaJuan Russell, a 17-year-old charged a month ago with shooting Salisbury High School freshman Shaleek Williams. In February during Russell’s first court appearance, Eddinger increased the bond, which had originally been set at $250,000, to $1 million.
This morning the judge denied the request of Salisbury Attorney Steve Gray for a much lower bond in the case. Eddinger kept the same bond. Russell, who is not a Salisbury student, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, possession of a firearm on school property and discharging a weapon on school property, all felonies.
Upon Russell’s arrest Feb. 10, a Rowan County magistrate set the bond for $250,000 and a few days later, during Russell’s first court appearance, Eddinger increased it. Two weeks later, Gray requested a bond reduction. A probable cause hearing was scheduled to take place Monday, but court records show District Court Judge Beth Dixon recused herself.
Assistant District Attorney Barrett Poppler also played a video shot the day of the shooting by someone using a cell phone. The video was shown to the judge and was only visible to Eddinger, Poppler and Gray. People could be heard chatting prior to the shooting. One shot was fired and a girl on the video could be heard repeatedly saying “Oh my God.”
Gray asked for a bond around $25,000, $28,000 or $50,000. He told the court his client was not a flight risk, saying he had no passport, did not have a job and was not a student at the high school. Gray said his client’s aunt has guardianship over him and that his father worked in Davidson County. Shenita Russell, DaJuan’s aunt, was in the courtroom today and has been at every hearing.
The attorney said the handgun was not found on Russell and has not been recovered by law enforcement. Gray said Russell was cooperative with law enforcement and was found the same day of the shooting.
Gray said there was an issue of whether it was his client that fired the gun.
Poppler requested the bond stay the same, saying the evidence was overwhelming in the case. Poppler said six people have identified Russell as the shooter and his office had been in contact with three more people.
“By all accounts our victim was a peacemaker in the situation,” Poppler said.
Williams told a Post reporter hours after the shooting he was trying to prevent a fight between Russell and a friend of his. Williams was shot in the abdomen and taken to the hospital by a parent. He was treated and released later that night. A probable cause hearing is slated for April 16.
See more in Thursday’s Post.