Why does John Hawthorne get $25k bail and home confinement while Tyler Sturdivant sits in jail on no bond?
Both stabbed a homeless man to death.
Hawthorne is charged with 2nd degree murder in the death of Joel Boner, age 30.
Sturdivant is charged with 1st degree murder & robbery w/firearm in the death of Ora James Light, age 51.
Hawthorne has private counsel. Sturdivant has a public defender.
Hawthorne is white. Sturdivant is black.
Both victims were white.
Hawthorne (age 19) has no prior adult criminal history in Orange County.
Sturdivant (age 18) pled no contest in 2008 of possession of a firearm by a minor, possession of a firearm w/ an altered seriel number & carrying a concealed firearm. One other charge, possession of <20g cannabis, was dropped in exchange for the plea. He was sentenced to 23 days jail w/credit for 23 days time served; 2 years probation; 100 hours community service & ordered to forfeit the firearm in October 2008. I can only surmise that this was not Sturdivant's first brush with the criminal justice system because it was transferred from Juvenile to Circuit Court while he was a minor. Nevertheless, both of these young men should be held in jail pending trial. Was it money or race or prior criminal history that caused the system to let one out on bond while the other sits in jail? For more media coverage of these cases, see below.
Sentinel 7/22/09 "Teen charged in Ocoee stabbing death of homeless man"
Sentinel 8/7/09 "Judge sets bond for suspect in homeless man's death"
WFTV 8/24/09 "Stabbing suspect had friend take pics"
Sentinel 8/26/09 "Suspect in slaying of homeless man said he did not fear for his life"
Sentinel 4/17/09 "Arrest made in slaying of man found beneath I-4"
the 13th Juror Blog "I hope it's not somebody I know"
If you read the online comments posted about both cases, you'll see that both victims had families that loved them very much. Whether or not we agree with the victims' choice of a homeless lifestyle, we should all be grieved that these men were killed. And that teenagers are responsible for their deaths.
The situation diminishes our entire community.