INDIANAPOLIS — A Marion County judge agreed to lower the bond of the man accused of firing into a crowd of people during a funeral on July 31 from $100,000 surety to $20,000 surety despite objection from prosecutors and the victims’ family members.
Dominique Baquet, 28, is now out on bond with GPS monitoring and no home detention. He paid bond the same day judge Mark Stoner agreed to lower it.
Baquet is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and carrying a handgun without a license. Court documents show that Baquet showed up to a funeral at the Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care on 30th Street, got into an altercation with a family member of the person who passed. Someone pulled out a firearm and started shooting, and Baquet pulled out a gun and shot back, injuring five people. Those injured include 16-year-old Jamese Cox and 4-year-old Azaria Glasper.
Baquet does not have a license to carry. He was previously convicted of robbery in February 2013. Azaria’s mother, Brittia Williams, cannot believe Baquet is out on bond.
“I mean, to release someone of that serious violent nature back into the public, you know, why would we ever feel safe?” Williams expressed. “Dominique is a danger to society and to himself. So, I’m not sure what sense it made. And, he’s just on GPS; he’s allowed to move freely.”
Williams said she was encouraged to show up to Baquet’s bond hearing on Friday. She provided the prosecutor with her objection to lowering the bond, and the state joined her objection. Still, judge Stoner agreed to lower the bond and lift home detention. On top of Baquet’s release, Williams also noted his behavior toward her family during the hearing.
“I’m just like, he’s literally staring at his victims’ family,” Williams said. “There’s no remorse in his eyes. There’s no way I would have released that menace back into society.”
Williams believes the criminal justice system is failing her family. She also questions why anyone would feel safe coming forward with information about a case.
“I just did it myself hoping it would give some sort of emotional appeal or something like that, you know. But it didn’t.”
As Williams deals with the stress of Baquet’s release, she is still tending to the needs of Azaria, whose head wound from the stray bullet is healing. She is also working to get counseling for her 4-year-old.
“This was just too close of a call, and I’m thankful to God that my baby is still here,” Williams said.
FOX59 reached out to judge Stoner to understand what led to the bond reduction and removal of home detention. A court administrator said she passed along our request for an interview and our questions to him.
According to the Marion County bond matrix, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon is a level 4 felony. The bail amount, according to the matrix, is $20,000 surety.
Recently, the Indiana Bar Association released this statement to reporters:
“The Indianapolis Bar Association is aware of recent statements that have been made regarding the Marion County criminal justice system and specifically in regard to pre-trial reform. In these statements, Marion County judges have been criticized for not publicly responding to the concerns expressed, and their lack of a response has been misconstrued as an attempt to evade these issues. Indiana judges are required by the Indiana Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 1.2 to ‘act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.’ To that end, Rule 2.1 precludes judges and their court staff from making any public statements that ‘might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing.’
Silence by the judiciary to public criticism is not a sign of acquiescence, indifference, or disdain regarding the opinions asserted, but rather is a symbol of the judiciary’s steadfast respect for the rule of law and commitment to judicial ethics. It is inappropriate for a judge to debate the merits of a pending case in the press or on social media.
Our Constitution provides individuals with the right to free speech, and we encourage constructive conversation among members of the community regarding the judicial system to bring greater understanding to these issues and to build upon the important work being done each day in our criminal justice system. It is equally important to note that our judges have an obligation to refrain from participating in that discourse when doing so might undermine and jeopardize the rights of individual litigants. At the Indianapolis Bar Association, we provide a positive forum for respectful discourse and education regarding the judicial process, and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future.”