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CBS4 Investigates Franklin hit and run suspect’s release on bond, despite previous convictions

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FRANKLIN, Ind. (April 19, 2016) -- CBS4 looked deeper into the Johnson County court system to find out how a hit and run suspect was allowed to bond out of jail in just hours.

Franklin Police arrested 29-year-old Will Slinger on Monday morning for a January hit and run crash that seriously injured three people, including Grant Black.

"I’d have liked to see him behind bars for a while," Black said.

Instead, Slinger paid $300 and posted bond hours after his arrest.

"I really don’t want anybody to sit in jail, but I don’t want him on the streets driving either and if he’s out of jail, that’s exactly what he’s going to be doing," Black said.

Black's concern stems from Slinger's criminal history. He was convicted in a 2005 crash that killed April Mulry, with her husband Brian and five-week-old baby in the car. That conviction included one for operating while intoxicated.

"It just makes me sick that he’s out doing this again. What’s going to be done? Is anything going to be done?" Brian Mulry said.

While Slinger was out on bond awaiting trial for that 2005 crash, he caused another OWI crash, for which he was also later convicted.

CBS4 went to Johnson County Circuit Court Judge K. Mark Loyd, who explained the bond system and how it worked the way it was built to, even in Slinger's case. Loyd himself was not presiding over the case or had anything to do with the bond.

Loyd explained that it was the way Slinger was arrested that makes a difference. Franklin Police arrested him on the spot after an interview. Since they still needed to collect evidence and did not ask the court for a warrant, no paperwork was filed to increase bond and keep Slinger in jail.

Bond for a suspect who has not yet been charged by prosecutors in Johnson County is on a set scale. Police only filed the lowest-level felony against Slinger, so he could bond out by paying almost the same amount as if he'd been charged with a misdemeanor.

"If the law enforcement officers had filed multiple felonies then those felonies would reflect a much higher bond than currently exists," Loyd said.

Bond could be increased once the Prosecutor files charges, if they are greater than the original charge Slinger was arrested on, but even then Loyd said the system is made to presume innocence and thus, Slinger is allowed on bond but expected to comply with the court's orders.

Loyd also said Slinger's criminal history would come into play later, if he is convicted in the crash.

"If and when there is a conviction, then at that point in time certainly aggravating, mitigating circumstances ... become extremely pertinent and relevant to the resolution of the case," Loyd said.

The Johnson County Prosecutor did receive paperwork from the police on Tuesday afternoon, and told CBS4 he hoped to make a decision on charges soon.

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