A Prince George's County teenager charged in the ambush slaying of a pizza deliveryman was released on bond last night for the second time after an appeals court ruled that the judge in the case may have been influenced by public opinion when he revoked the youth's initial bond.
The defendant, Arthur R. Miles, 16, was first released April 17 after District Court Judge Gerard Devlin set bond at $75,000, a decision that angered the victim's family and led them to mount a much-publicized campaign for Devlin's ouster. Three weeks later, however, after the case had been routinely moved up to Circuit Court, Judge Jacob S. Levin revoked the bond and ordered Miles jailed pending his Sept. 4 trial.
In a decision dated Tuesday and received by Levin yesterday, Maryland's Court of Special Appeals ruled that the judge "abused his discretion" in revoking the bond. "Moreover," the justices said, "we take judicial notice of the media attention garnered by this case, and conclude that the revocation of bail may have been, in part, a response to public opinion."
Levin, who declined to comment on the appellate panel's rebuke, reset Miles's bond at $75,000 yesterday during a brief hearing.
Miles and a second suspect, Roland H. Jeter, 18, both of Largo, were arrested April 8 by Prince George's police and charged with first-degree murder in the previous day's slaying of Domino's Pizza employee Carl A. Krogmann, 25.
The suspects allegedly ordered a pizza by telephone to lure Krogmann to an unoccupied house in Largo, where he was shot once in the chest. Police said Miles and Jeter wanted money to buy tickets to a rap concert, but that Krogmann had left his $15 in change in his car before approaching the house.
Although setting bond for murder suspects is a common practice in Prince George's and other jurisdictions, Miles's release prompted an outcry from Krogmann's relatives and friends in Bethesda.
Their campaign included a news conference by a family friend, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.), a petition drive to unseat Devlin, a television appearance by Krogmann's parents on Turner Broadcasting System's "Larry King Live" and a march on the State House and Devlin's home by the Guardian Angels, a self-styled anti-crime group.
But Krogmann's brother, Kenneth, said yesterday that the family does not plan a similar response to the appeals court ruling.
"I think the decision is ridiculous," he said. "It's a slap in the face to the law-abiding public and people who live good lives. But there's not enough time before the trial for us to mount an offensive."
Although Judge Devlin initially set Miles's bond at $75,000, a different District Court judge denied Jeter's request for bond. Jeter, whose trial is set for October, remains jailed at the Prince George's Correctional Center.
In deciding whether to set bond for Miles, Devlin was required to consider the likelihood that Miles would flee before his trial.
On May 3, after prosecutors had routinely presented the case to a grand jury, Miles and Jeter were indicted on numerous charges, including first-degree murder. A grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence, but reviews evidence and issues an indictment if it believes a trial is warranted.
With the indictment, the case was moved up to Circuit Court. At a hearing May 14 before Judge Levin, Miles's attorney, David Simpson, argued that the original bond should remain unchanged. He said there were no "new circumstances" that might make his client more inclined to flee.
But Levin cited the grand jury indictment as "new circumstances" and revoked Miles's bond.
"We do not agree," the appeals court said, ruling on an appeal by Simpson. The justices noted that the grand jury indictment was not an unexpected new development that would have prompted Miles to flee.