A judge reduced the bond for one of three men arrested in connection with a deadly Joliet gun battle after the man's attorney argued that his client was merely driving a car during the incident and has no criminal history.
After Thursday's court hearing, Judge Vincent Cornelius reduced the $1 million bond for Rasean Stokes, 18, to $750,000. He will need to post $75,000 for his release from jail. If he’s released, he’s required to be placed on GPS monitoring.
Stokes and Jeremiah Gavin, 22, were indicted on first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Jeremiah Frazier, 17, who was killed Feb. 7 after a shootout that involved two cars on Republic Avenue.
Stokes and Gavin were in a Pontiac Bonneville during the incident, while Frazier was in a Chevy Aveo with Javontae Gray, 23, court records show. Gray has been charged with shooting at the Pontiac and concealing a cellphone from the police.
Stokes’ attorney, Jeff Tomczak, requested the judge lower his client's bond. He showed Cornelius a video of the incident, which showed one passerby diving onto snowy ground nearby to avoid the shots.
Tomczak argued that his client was only driving a car and was hunted by the men in the other car. Tomczak also pointed out that Stokes has no criminal history and did not help Gavin evade capture as his couldn’t stop the vehicle while he was being shot at.
He said he didn’t believe prosecutors can “meet their burden in this case.”
Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Nick Plattos argued that Stokes’ bond was appropriate. He said the shooting took place in an area surrounded by businesses and noted the one witness who “has to dive out of the way of gunfire.”
Plattos also argued that Stokes didn’t go to the police after the shooting and “he had to be found.”
“It’s not like we have an innocent participant,” Plattos said.
Cornelius said he reviewed the grand jury transcripts, the exhibits and other materials, and considered that there was probable cause that Stokes was a driver and not a shooter, and that the the incident appeared “to be more likely a spontaneous incident.”
On Wednesday, Gray’s attorney, Zachary Pollack, made a motion to have his client’s $750,000 bond reduced, but Judge Dan Kennedy declined to lower it.
Pollack argued that there’s no evidence that Gray actually fired a gun and that there was a third person who hopped out of Gray’s car and fired a gun, but didn’t hit anyone.
A police detective told a grand jury that there’s an investigation of the possible involvement of a third man being a shooter from Gray’s car, court records show.