A Guilford Co. magistrate gave the teen accused in a fatal hit-and-run crash the lowest suggested bond for his charge.
GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Troopers say 19-year-old Andrew Bray Barham was driving down Scalesville Road in Summerfield Sunday evening, hit High Point firefighter Todd Martinez, did not stop, and was arrested a few hours later at his parent's house.
Barham is charged with Felony Hit and Run, a Class-F Felony.
The teen did not spend one second in jail - his fingerprints were taken and he paid the $2,500 bond.
The suggested bond for Barham's charge in Guilford County ranges between $2,500 and $25,000.
Barham was given the lowest suggested bond by Magistrate Christie Haynes.
"The magistrate is obligated under the law to put a bond, fix a bond that is the least bond that can reasonably be required to bring the defendant to court on his court date," explained Locke Clifford, Defense Attorney.
"The bond is not designed to be punitive, it is not. In this case that fact that it's $2,500, does not put a value on the life of the deceased fireman. Not at all."
Defense attorney Locke Clifford says the purpose of a bond is not to punish a suspect, but to put "pressure" on the person to ensure they appear for court.
"We don't throw people in prison based on accusations, we put people in prison based on proof. And so the bond is the device the state uses to make sure the defendant comes to court so that the case against him can either be proved or not be proved," explained Clifford.
WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower reached out to Magistrate Haynes to ask her why she set Barham's bond at $2,500 - but court employees said Haynes is out of the office all week.
When asked if Barham should be considered a flight risk because he's accused of leaving the scene of a crime, Clifford answered, "You would assume the bond would be higher just because of that exact fact."
Clifford says magistrates often look at criminal history, and other factors like mental health before they set bond.
Barham does not have any prior convictions.
Barham's next court date is scheduled for March 6.
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