Laurent may get a bond reduction

Circuit Judge Roger T. Clark is considering two motions in the Leo Laurent murder case on whether to revoke Laurent’s $1 million bond or reduce it so he can get out of jail before his trial date on June 28.

Laurent is accused of killing his wife, Brandi Hawkins Laurent, in August 2007.

The case was supposed to be tried on April 19, but it was moved to June because one of the state’s star witnesses was not able to be in court because she was pregnant and ill.

Prior to the April 19th trial date, defense attorneys presented a motion asking Clark to reduce Laurent’s $1 million bond, so they could have more with him in preparing for trial.

The state, in turn, filed a motion to have Laurent’s bond revoked, citing two previous felony arrests which Laurent was on bond for when he was arrested for murder in January 2008.

Clark heard arguments Tuesday and promised a ruling by early next week.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher said Laurent’s bond should be revoked because of his previous record and because he failed to appear in court in Pearl River County in December 2007 on a previous embezzlement charge.

Laurent testified that he was in Florida working and that his bail bondsman did not notify him of his court.

Laurent’s attorney Jim McGuire argued that Laurent had voluntarily turned himself in when he realized he had missed the court date.

This differs from what Laurent’s former bail bondsman told reporters after the incident.

In January 2008, Carol Pearson, the owner of A-1 Outlaw Bonding, told the Echo that Laurent was “on the lam” and that she had to “trick” him into returning to Mississippi.

“He was called the night before,” she said. “He was aware he had to be there. He is on the run. I’m going to have someone looking for him.”

A few days later, Laurent turned himself in at the Pearl River County jail thinking he could post another bond and be free again.

Pearson and her company surrendered Laurent’s bond, and a circuit court warrant from Pearl River County did not allow him to post another bond.

Once Laurent was jailed in Pearl River County, he asked to speak with Hancock Sheriff Steve Garber and Chief Investigator Kenny Hurt, who obtained a confession from him about his involvements in Brandi’s death.

A week later, he was charged with murder by Hancock County and has remained in custody since.

Defense attorney Brian Alexander said Tuesday that he believes Laurent is entitled to a reduced bond.

He said if Laurent’s bond is lowered to a reasonable amount, he thinks Laurent will be able to get out of jail prior to trial.

At a hearing last month, Laurent said if he were to be released, he would “get a job and support his family.”

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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