Judge Worried About Freeing Man Now Charged In Murder Of Arab Neighbor

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While setting bond in May for a man charged with a violent assault on his Lebanese neighbor, a Tulsa County, Oklahoma judge admitted that it would create a “precarious” situation to have the man return to his home. Yet he set bond anyway without conditions.

Ten weeks later, on Aug. 13, Stanley Vernon Majors was charged for allegedly murdering that same neighbor’s son.

“This is a very precarious situation for the court and for the parties and for yourself and for the victim’s — alleged victim’s — family … I’m very concerned with you out of custody and living next door to the victim and the victim’s family of what might happen on any given day given this history,” Tulsa County Judge William LaFortune cautioned in a May 25 bond hearing, according to court transcripts acquired by the Tulsa World and published Sunday.

Majors had been jailed for a September 2015 hit-and-run attack on his neighbor Haifa Jabara. The family said Majors targeted them with ethnic slurs and frivolous calls to the police for years before allegedly slamming into Haifa Jabara with his car, leaving her with multiple broken bones.

The Tulsa World reported that while Majors was held without bond on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, prosecutors later escalated the charge to assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Majors spent eight months in jail before acquiring a new attorney, Marvin Lizama, on May 23, who managed to get Majors released on a $30,000 bond that day, according to the newspaper.

The District Attorney’s office called a second bond hearing, pointing out that judge LaFortune had mistakenly ruled on the lesser charge of a “dangerous” weapon and arguing that Majors posed “a substantial risk to the public,” the newspaper reported.

LaFortune doubled the bond to $60,000 in that hearing and acknowledged that he shared prosecutors’ fears about how Majors may behave toward his neighbors given his “history.”

“I’m just putting you on notice there cannot be any, even a hint of contact, attempted contact, et cetera, with this victim or this victim’s family … because they’re going to be on edge and they’re going to be on notice that you’re there,” LaFortune warned him, according to the World.

Though LaFortune encouraged Majors to follow up on an offer he made to “move to another apartment,” he let the $60,000 bond stand without any conditions, such as requiring a change of address or an ankle monitor.

Lizama said at the end of the hearing that Majors would pay the $30,000 difference in bond that day so he could remain free, according to the Tulsa World.

A few months later, on Aug. 12, Majors was charged with first-degree murder and a misdemeanor hate crime charge for allegedly murdering Khalid Jabara on the front porch of the house he shared with his parents.

LaFortune declined the World’s request for comment, noting that the case was currently pending in his own court.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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