Beckley murder suspect commits violent crime while out on bond - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Beckley murder suspect commits violent crime while out on bond

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59 News did some digging into the criminal history of Alfred Pittman and Damien Totten. Pittman was out on bond after being involved in a murder. Our crews wanted to find out why this man was set free back into the community.

Our 59 News crews brought this information to a lawyer. Attorney Kyle Lusk said bond isn't a punishment instead something all are entitled too.

"It is not a gift from the judge, everyone has a right to bond," Lusk said. "If you can establish a person is not a threat to the community and they are not a flight risk, bond is supposed to be a right. We have a presumption of innocence to give someone a bond that cannot be meet is to convict them without a jury," he explained.

So why is bond such a hot topic?

Our 59 News crews checked our archives and found footage of a murder from September 2012.  Beckley Police said three men invaded the home of Sean Rucker. They said the suspects shot and killed Rucker.

Several months later our 59 News crews found footage of one of the murder suspects being arrested in Charleston.  The suspects name is Alfred Pittman and if that name sounds familiar it is because he was arrested again on Tuesday.

This time police said he was arrested for breaking into an apartment and beating a woman in front of her children.  The full 59 News story can be found here.

This has left people within the community to ask why Pittman was allowed free after his first violent offense and not remaining behind bars until his trial.

"Well it shows the system is broken. clearly this man had some sort of deep-seeded problems they should have picked up and that should have warned them he was not a candidate to be out," Janis Newcomen said.

Though not a favorable answer for folks like Janis, lawyer Kyle Lusk says it isn't unusual for violent offenders to make bond.

Lusk said there are many factors that go into setting a bond amount. He said the judges look at many aspects of the suspect's lifestyle. Things like strong ties to the area, family, a steady job and finally; the question, will this person commit another crime?  Lusk said these are all factored into a bond decision.

In Tuesday's assault case, bond was set for Pittman and Totten at half a million dollars. Both remain behind bars in Southern Regional Jail.