Circuit Judge Terence Perkins this morning nearly doubled the bond on 18-year-old Gabriella Alo, from $18,500 to $33,500, based on new information from the prosecution stemming from a violent incident in Flagler Beach in January. The judge also imposed a set of conditions should Alo manage to bond out.
Alo’s defense attorney said Alo could not post bond even on the lower amount, and argued against raising the amount. “I know it’s exasperating, but we don’t want to blow this out of proportion,” Assistant Public Defender Regina Nunnally said. (See: “Brother and Sister Face Several Felony Charges in Beating and Hit-and-Run at Wickline Park.”)
Alo is facing four felony counts, including a first-degree felony charge the state filed, following an incident at Wickline park in Flagler Beach on Jan. 13. Alo and her brother, Nicholas Alo, are accused of assaulting a 15-year-old boy. Gabriella Alo is accused of running over Kaitlin Dahme, 29, who had rushed from across the street–where she lives–to come to the aid of the boy.
The case has drawn unusual attention because Dahme is well known in Flagler Beach–she works at Tortugas and Island Grille, two of the city’s better-known restaurants–and has a large support system, in evidence today as it was at the previous bond hearing on Feb. 6, when Nunnally tried to lower the bond.
The courtroom today was so full that the judge had to seat some of Dahme’s supporters in the jury box in Courtroom 402. “We were out of space. We’re not used to that,” Perkins said. The proceedings had been moved to the much smaller courtroom, from the more vast 401, because the audio system in 401 is being repaired. But large attendance at bond hearings is almost unheard of.
The case might have drawn significant attention regardless because of the apparent brazenness or recklessness of the way Alo ran over Dahme.
Based on Nunnally’s comments in court today, the defense is going to argue that that aspect of the incident was unintentional. The words Nunnally used were “isolated incident.” But that doesn’t lessen the severity of the injuries Dahme or the 15-year-old boy sustained, or the facts that Dahme would not have sustained what she described in an earlier hearing as life-changing injuries had she not been propelled into the fray by the beating of the boy, or the carelessness with which Alo handled the car.
“Ms. Alo doesn’t know her. She doesn’t know her. They don’t know one another,” Nunnally said. “It wasn’t something that Ms. Alo was allegedly trying to do on purpose. So the court should take that into consideration.”
The original bond of $18,500 was set by Circuit Judge Christopher France on Jan. 14. (Perkins twice today referred to County Judge Andrea Totten as setting that bond, but the signature on the first appearance document, with the bond amounts, is that of France.)
Assistant State Attorney Tara Libby, who is prosecuting the case, said the first-appearance judge did not have all the information about the incident, nor was aware of the extent of the injuries Dahme sustained, which is why she argued the bond was set lower than it should have been. “That’s a new factor for this court to consider.” Libby wanted the bond revoked altogether.
Nunnally countered that first-appearance judges often don’t have all the information. But in this case the judge did have a detailed arrest report. She also argued that bonds are not designed to keep people in jail, but to ensure that they show up for court proceedings. The bond system in many states is under fire for serving only as a chain on poorer defendants, while those with means can always bond out.
Since the original filing of the charges, the state filed one additional charge of its own: tampering with a witness, filed as a first-degree felony. Libby also cited an incident at the jail where Alo, according to a disciplinary report, refused to follow orders and had to be tased before she complied with being moved to a different housing unit. But she was not charged with a crime. (See: “Gabriella Alo, in Jail Over Beating and Hit-and-Run, Is Tased in Confrontation with Deputies.”)
“The incident at the jail was not a criminal, it was not arrested, it was not a first appear,” Nunnally said, using shorthand for ‘first appearance” hearings, so she argued it should not enter into the discussion. Perkins didn’t entirely buy the argument, saying the state could have chosen to file a charge, but he didn’t make the jail incident part of his decision.
Perkins ruled against the motion to revoke bond. But he accepted the state’s argument that the new, first-degree felony charge carries a higher bond. He added $15,000. At the previous bond hearing, Perkins, in an unusual reaction to testimony by Dahme and by the mother of the 15 year old boy, had said he wished the bond was set at $100,000. (See: “Judge Criticizes Low Bond and Denies Lowering it Further on 18-Year-Old in Flagler Beach Assaults.”)
Today, he was more careful not to let his words either get away from himself or from in any way criticizing the judge at the first-appearance hearing, saying the original bond amounts were set based on the charges presented. (Bond amounts are not arbitrary: the court follows a written schedule, and only rarely diverges from that schedule.)
He also imposed a no-contact order between Alo and the victims, should she manage to post bail, required that she be monitored by GPS, and that she be barred from driving.
He then addressed Alo directly: “No Contact means no contact of any kind, okay?” Perkins said. “No verbal contact or written contact, no texting. You can’t ask somebody else to tell them this or that. No contact of any kind. Any contact will be a violation. That will bring you back to jail, you understand that?” Alo gave a faint yes.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Judge should have made it $50k
No. The Judge should have revoked the bond and made it “NO BOND.” She is a danger to society with no remorse whatsoever.
Flamingo Gary says
The community needs to get together and do a fundraiser to come up with the bond money. Kait’s backers had t shirts made to support her which was pretty amazing. Perhaps we can get t shirts made supporting Gabriella that say “Alo Life” on them.
Alan McGiboney says
You mean “ alo do life”
Too funny and fitting. A Low Life!
Magnum G.I. says
Maybe YOUR “community needs to get together and do a fundraiser to come up with the bond money”, but MY community, of which includes level headed law abiding citizens that contribute positively to society, including cops and judges, do not ascribe to your rationale, or complete lack thereof.
If YOUR community is one that supports the violent assault of innocent women and children, then MY community will make certain to keep you and yours behind bars where you all belong.
What community do you live in that want’s a violent criminal roaming the streets? Let me know, so I know not to visit; it certainly not any community that I am familiar with.
I got an idea says
They should have her share a cell with Princess Williams.
Thank you Judge Perkins job well done.