Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge D. Scott Smith accepted a public defender’s request to reduce bond for a Cartersville man facing first degree vehicular homicide charges in Bartow Superior Court Tuesday morning.
Defendant Daniel Allen Jones has been held in pretrial custody at the Bartow County Jail for roughly 16 months. He was initially booked on Jan. 24, 2019, following a fatal wreck along Peeples Valley Road two days earlier.
Jones, the driver of a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, allegedly struck a 2016 Mercedes-Benz according to a Georgia State Patrol (GSP) report. The passenger in Jones’ vehicle — Phillip Dwayne Bagley, 30, of Cartersville — was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision.
The defendant’s bond was initially set at $100,000. It was reduced to $50,000 following a hearing in April.
Public defender Lora Alsher requested that Jones’ bond be reduced to $30,000 — a motion Judge Smith eventually approved.
“I do have a favorable offer for him, but at this point, he still wishes to have a jury trial,” she told the court.
Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Austin Waldo said Jones’ case would be a top priority once jury trials are allowed to resume in the local courtrooms.
“The State believes the bond is reasonable at this point,” he said. “He has a history going back from 2010 — simple battery, some probation revocations, giving a false name to officers, obstruction, theft by taking, theft by shoplifting.”
Although he didn’t consider those previous charges “horrific,” Waldo said he nonetheless believes that Jones’ likelihood of reoffending “is not minimal” if he is released from pretrial detention.
When the defendant’s bond was halved in April, Smith said he had no idea when “regular” court proceedings would continue. That long-term picture, he added, doesn't look all that much clearer almost two months later.
“While we can expand some aspects of court, including some contested matters during the period of May 13 to June 12, we still have no indication of when [Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton] is going to lift the emergency so that the court can proceed with regular jury proceedings,” he said.
Smith said Jones’ previous bond conditions remain applicable, adding that he will not lower the defendant’s bond amount again.
“I don’t know when and where Mr. Jones’ case is going to reach a docket for trial,” Smith said. “He’s been in a significantly long time and there’s no real indication of when he’s going to be able to be tried.”
According to Bartow County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) records, the defendant is facing an additional felony charge for possession of methamphetamine. Documents indicate he’s also facing a dozen misdemeanor charges stemming from the fatal 2019 collision, including one count of driving under the influence, one count of reckless driving, one count of failure to report an accident with injury or death and one count of hit and run.
An additional felony probation violation charge against the defendant was dismissed last September, BCSO documents indicate.