Nine of the 13 protesters facing multiple felony charges after a round of arrests early this week saw their bail amounts reduced Thursday, after days of controversy over whether the initial totals were excessive.
District Court Judge Bruce Roth initially set the bail for several protesters at $1 million, a measure which Lt. Gov. John Fetterman called unconstitutional. Other protesters and civil rights groups have said the bail amounts were extreme.
Several of the protesters are facing felony arson, riot and vandalism charges, among other counts, and while city police did not request the bail amount, public information officer Lt. Bill Hickey said the felony charges are considered in the judge’s equation and “falls within the rules of criminal procedure.”
Bail amounts were reviewed Thursday morning at the Lancaster County Courthouse after five protesters petitioned for a lower bail. The defense attorneys and the Lancaster County District Attorney's office helped the judge come to a conclusion for the new bail amounts, Roth said. Along with bail restrictions, the protesters who are released are not allowed to be within a block of the Lancaster city police station for anything than legitimate reason, the judges ruled.
All but one protester appeared via video for the hearings. Defendants usually are not present for bail hearings, Judge Dennis Reinaker said during the hearings.
Protests erupted Sunday after a Lancaster city police officer shot and killed 27-year-old Ricardo Muñoz following a domestic disturbance call in the 300 block of Laurel Street. Muñoz's body laid on the sidewalk for more than four hours while the district attorney's office investigated. Later Sunday night, the district attorney's office posted body camera footage from the incident that showed Muñoz running after the officer with what appeared to be a knife.
Crowds gathered near the crime scene, then moved to the area around the police station on West Chestnut Street. Protests continued throughout the night, with police using chemical munitions and riot gear to disperse the crowds. Windows were smashed in the police station, the post office and a few local businesses, as well as in a Jeep outside the police station. Police started making arrests around 3 a.m. Monday after barricades and a fire in the street at Chestnut and Prince streets.
Here's a breakdown of how and why the bail amounts changed:
Bails petitioned and reviewed by Reinaker
- Taylor Enterline F/20 - From $1 million to $50,000 unsecured
Enterline’s attorney said that she comes from a military family and has no prior convictions. She has ties to Manheim, where she lives, and is a senior at West Chester University. She spent the summer working at the Manheim Auto Auction.
Her mother, Mary Enterline, became emotional when the bail amount was reduced, allowing Enterline to be released from prison today.
- Kathryn Patterson F/20 - From $1 million to $50,0000 unsecured
Patterson is a junior at Franklin and Marshall College and has been an active member of its Black Student Union, her attorney said.
A GoFundMe page that was started for Patterson has raised more than $54,000.
- Alexa Wise F/29 - From $100,000 to $50,000 unsecured; is on house arrest
Wise was the only protester who was not present via video during the hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Travis Anderson told Reinaker that Wise had a “higher level of culpability,” during the incident.
Wise lives in Camp Hill with her grandmother and mother and will have to be on house arrest when she is released.
- Yoshua Dwayne Montague M/23 - From $1 million to $100,000 cash or 10%
Though Montague did receive a bail reduction, he will still have to post at least $10,000 to be released.
He has a York address and had a concealed firearm on him when he was arrested ADA Anderson said.
Montague shook his head ‘no’ as Reinaker announced the new bail.
- Dylan Davis M/28 - From $1 million to $50,000 unsecured; is on house arrest
Davis will be on house arrest in Ephrata, where he’ll live with his parents, upon his release, Reinaker ruled. Davis was living in the city during the time of the protest with his fiancé, his attorney said.
Bails revisited by Roth
Reinaker began the hearings by saying that Roth didn’t need to revisit the bail amounts and gave credit to the Magisterial judge for doing so.
- Barry Jones M/30 - $1 million to $100,000 unsecured; is on house arrest
Jones, who lives in York with his parents, denies involvement in the violent protests, his attorney said. He will be on house arrest while out on bail, Judge Roth ruled.
- Jamal Shariff Newman M/24 - $1 million to $100,000 straight
Newman, who was previously listed as homeless, lives in Lancaster, his attorney said.
Roth did lower bail, but Newman will need to pay the full $100,000 to be released from prison.
Newman was legally openly carrying a firearm during the protests, but had “ditched the gun” and ran from police before being arrested, ADA Anderson said.
However, Roth said that they could revisit the bail amount on Monday during the preliminary hearing.
- Talia Gessner F/18 - $1 million to $50,000 monetary, if released, house arrest
Gessner, from York, was attending her first protest on Sunday, her attorney said, adding that she was helping people who were "tear-gassed."
ADA Anderson countered, and said that she was more involved than just helping others.
Her attorney pointed out that she has ties in York and recently moved to her own apartment. She works for the SPCA in York.
- T-Jay Fry M/28 - $1 million to $25,000 straight
Fry is accused of using a bullhorn to “direct rioters” to “burn it down” on Sunday night, ADA Anderson said.
He has two prior convictions from 2018, on charges of strangulation and terroristic threats.
He was arrested in Binns Park and is on probation.
Other protesters who were arrested Sunday night incident include Jessica Marie Lopez, Matthew Modderman and a 16-year-old.
Lopez is being held in prison on $250,000 bail and the juvenile's case is being handled in juveniles' court.
Lopez has has a federal civil rights suit against the city police department stemming from accusations that a city police officer inappropriately touched her.
Modderman, a client services representative in the Client Solutions department at LNP | LancasterOnline, was being held on $1 million bail but was released on Tuesday night, according to previous LancasterOnline reporting. His attorney told LancasterOnline that he wasn’t sure how much cash his client had to post to secure release.
"LNP Media Group condemns acts of destruction and violence, including those that occurred in downtown Lancaster Sunday and Monday. One of the protesters charged this week is an employee of LNP|LancasterOnline. He attended the protest independent of his role with LNP|LancasterOnline and is not a journalist. Our company supports both the right to protest peacefully and law enforcement’s efforts to maintain order and protect the public’s well-being. We also wish to express our condolences to the family of Ricardo Muñoz," Caroline Muraro, president of LNP Media Group, said in a statement Tuesday.
Following the bail reductions, Lancaster Stands Up, SafeHouse Lancaster and Lancaster NAACP held a press conference.
Isaac Etter, co-executive director of SafeHouse Lancaster, said that, "...Despite fear, these young people are after justice and they're going to stand with their friends and they're going to make it clear to this city that they're not going to stand for injustice of this measure or any other."
Editor's note: This article had incorrectly stated that Judge Dennis Reinaker was the President Judge. He was the former President Judge. The current President Judge is David Ashworth.