Judge sets bond for violation of probation given in robbery case

Truth file photo

GOSHEN — A judge set a bond amount Thursday for an Elkhart man accused of violating his probation in a robbery conviction by allegedly breaking a woman’s wrist.

Maurice Thomas III, 27, was charged in March with two counts of domestic battery, one a Level 5 felony for inflicting “serious” injury and and one a Level 6 felony for “moderate” injury. After his arrest, a violation of probation was filed against him in a 2013 conviction for robbery.

He was arrested in March shortly after a woman reported to Elkhart police that Thomas got angry at her, picked her up and threw her “across the house.” She tried to catch herself with an arm and suffered a broken wrist that required hospitalization.

The woman said Thomas pulled her hair and punched her in the back of the head after she landed.

Thomas was arrested and booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $10,000 bond. He is currently awaiting an April 1 jury trial.

Bond was also set at $10,000 for the probation violation in the robbery case.

He had been sentenced to eight years in prison, with two suspended, after pleading guilty to robbery in July 2013. He admitted to the charge as a Class C felony, as a lesser included offense to the original charge of armed robbery as a Class B felony.

Thomas paid his bail in both cases, but when he later failed to appear at different court hearings, bench warrants were issued for his arrest. Bond was again set at $10,000 in the domestic battery case and he was ordered to be held without bond in the old robbery case.

His attorney asked Thursday that bond be set at $30,000 for the probation violation. Thomas questioned how he could be hit with a failure to appear while still being held in jail, but promised the judge that he would make his future court dates.

Don Pitzer, Elkhart County deputy prosecutor, asked that bond be set at $90,000 for the probation violation. He pointed to Thomas’s multiple failures to appear in the past.

“We’re concerned he’ll be off in the wind again,” Pitzer said. “This is a domestic violence charge, the state is very concerned about these types of cases.”

Circuit Court Judge Michael Christofeno declined to lower Thomas’s bail in the battery case, saying if anything he would raise it, but he did set a bond amount of $50,000 in the robbery case. He said the total bond amount of $60,000 must be paid by corporate surety only, so there would be someone who’s responsible for making sure Thomas is in court.

“I want there to be a bondsman who’s available to look for you if you don’t show up,” Christofeno said.

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