Bond reduced for man accused in pastor's death - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Bond reduced for man accused in pastor's death

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Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office) Woodrow Karey Jr. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office)
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Judge Clayton Davis granted a reduction in bond on Monday for Woodrow Karey Jr., the Lake Charles man charged with manslaughter in the death of pastor Ronald Harris Sr.

"Under the circumstances, the court finds that a bond of $500,000 would be appropriate," Judge Davis said.

According to authorities, on Sept. 27, 2013, Karey walked into the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center, shooting and killing Harris, before calling 911 and turning himself in. He was charged with second-degree murder and booked on a $1 million bond.

On Oct. 24, Karey's defense attorneys Todd Clemons and Adam Johnson requested Karey's bond be reduced but Judge Davis denied that request.

On Nov. 14, a grand jury indicted Karey on a charge of manslaughter, not the second-degree murder charge.

During Monday's hearing, the defense argued Karey is not a flight risk, has no prior criminal record and is no danger to the public.

"Based on the precedent in our parish and in our state, a $1 million bond for a manslaughter charge is not appropriate," Clemons said.

Brett Sandifer argued for the state, saying the grand jury may have changed the charge, but it didn't change the act of the killing.

"Who's to say he wouldn't run away and flee when he's facing 20 years," argued Sandifer. "The state vigorously objects to any reduction in bond."

Karey, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 40 years.

Harris' daughter Talisha Jacko was in the courtroom Monday and said she's not upset by the bond reduction. 

"I didn't really have a bad feeling about the bond reduction being that the charge was reduced to a manslaughter," she said. "According to the law, I'm sure he [Davis] did what he was supposed to do, so my disappointment was not at all against Judge Davis."

Jacko said her family is still dealing with Karey being charged with manslaughter.

"To say that we have justice ... justice wasn't served when it came back from the grand jury, so no," Jacko said.  

District Attorney John DeRosier said the system works. 

"These cases often start out one way and end up another," DeRosier said. "The grand jury has returned an indictment in this case of manslaughter and that is the current charge and that may be the ultimate charge. That is the business of the grand jury to make that determination."

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