Bail has been reduced from $500,000 to $200,000 cash for a Kenyan man in Massachusetts awaiting trial for charges related to a car crash that claimed the life of a Massachusetts State Trooper last year.
David K. Njuguna, 30, of Webster, Massachusetts, has been held in jail unable to raise bail since March 16th, 2016 when he was arrested after a car crash that killed state trooper Thomas L. Cardy on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Njuguna was charged with manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide while driving under the influence of marijuana, among other charges. He was driving on the breakdown lane of the Turnpike when his vehicle struck officer Cardy’s cruiser from behind, killing Cardy who was conducting a motor vehicle stop at the time of the crash.
The prosecution says Nuguna tested positive for marijuana, had marijuana in his vehicle, and was observed purchasing the drug inside a medical marijuana dispensary within an hour of the crash.
Njuguna’s lawyer, Peter L. Ettenberg, asked the judge to lower the bail to $5,000, an amount he said his client’s family could raise. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Travers however argued that because Njuguna is a permanent resident and not a US citizen, he has an “expectation of deportation” after serving his sentence if convicted of the charges. Njuguna is therefore a flight risk and could flee to his native Kenya to avoid trial and eventual deportation if released from custody.
The judge lowered the bail amount to $200,000, saying judges are not required to set bail to an amount a defendant can afford if higher bail is needed to prevent the defendant from failing to appear for trial.
In the event that Njuguna manages to post the $200,000 cash bail, he will be required to surrender his passport, remain under house arrest and wear a GPS monitoring device. He will also be required to call the Probation Department once a week by phone.
Njuguna’s next court appearance is December 6th, when a trial date will be set.