A convicted felon accused of hitting and killing a 12-year-old Baton Rouge boy during a high-speed police chase last month will be held without bail until his August trial on separate drug and gun charges stemming from a previous arrest, a state judge ruled Thursday.
District Judge Chip Moore, over the objections of defense lawyer Chris Alexander, agreed with East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Larry McAlpine that Joshual Hilton, 32, is a danger to society and should stay locked up until his Aug. 28 trial.
McAlpine referenced the May 31 killing of 12-year-old Samuel "Sammy" Lee III as the boy crossed Old Hammond Highway at Gloria Drive.
Baton Rouge police narcotics detectives had been tailing the man who fatally struck a child …
"You're creating an imminent danger to the community by being out of prison," Moore told Hilton shortly before revoking his $300,000 bail in the drug and gun case from September. A condition of that bond was that Hilton remain "arrest free," the judge reminded Hilton.
That bail started at $135,000, which Hilton posted, but was revoked by Moore and reset at $300,000 after Hilton was arrested again on drug charges in October. Hilton posted that bail in December and was released from jail.
In the September case, Hilton is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, methamphetamine and codeine; illegal carrying of a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is charged with possession of codeine in the October case that also is in Moore's court.
Following last month's fatal high-speed chase during which Hilton allegedly tossed large quantities of crystal methamphetamine from his pickup, he was booked on counts of manslaughter, obstruction of justice, aggravated flight from an officer, and possession with intent to distribute Schedule II drugs.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted him on drug and firearms charges stemming from incidents that took place in February 2015, and in January and September of last year.
Hilton, through his attorneys, has denied striking Lee with his truck during the May 31 chase.
Two of those lawyers, Ron Haley and Dedrick Moore, said Thursday that state District Judge Trudy White has granted their request to inspect Hilton's truck — currently in the custody of Louisiana State Police — and the law enforcement vehicles involved in the May 31 chase, as well as any ballistics evidence. Hilton was shot during the encounter.
Haley and Dedrick Moore, in an interview outside Chip Moore's courtroom, said sources outside of law enforcement and independent of Sammy Lee's family have indicated an unmarked law enforcement vehicle that was pursuing Hilton struck the boy.
Dedrick Moore said he and Haley and their investigator will inspect Hilton's truck to look at the nature of the damage to it. They will also examine the other vehicles involved in the chase, he said.
During Hilton's bond revocation hearing, McAlpine mentioned the deadly May 31 chase and said it is "no longer speculative" that Hilton poses an imminent danger to the community.
"I almost feel silly arguing he's a danger to society," the prosecutor told Chip Moore.
Alexander chastised McAlpine and told the judge that the prosecutor is presuming Hilton guilty.
"Why don't we just not have a trial," Alexander said sarcastically.
Alexander said whether Hilton struck and killed the boy is genuinely disputed.
"There's another side of this story," he argued. "This (allegation) is going to be seriously contested."