4th DCA: Jailed Felon Must Be Granted Bond
Broward Circuit Judge David Haimes must set bail for a felon charged with second-degree murder for a fatal shooting at his Hollywood home, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday in granting a habeas corpus petition.
Haimes sided with the state in July when he denied bond to Dallas Seymour in the May 26 killing of Darryl Keith Hardnett. Haimes found the state met its burden that the proof was "evident and the presumption great" that a jury would convict Seymour as charged, but the defense insists the shooting was accidental.
Seymour, 52, shot Hardnett, also 52, in the head with a handgun with numerous witnesses watching.
The state attorney's office alleged Seymour demonstrated "a depraved mind without regard for human life," and Broward sheriff's detectives initially described the motive as a dispute over crack cocaine.
However, during the bond hearing, the judge was told eyewitnesses saw Seymour put the gun on a TV and looked for something in his pocket. The gun went off when he picked it up, and Seymour said, "Oh y'all, I shot that man for real right there."
The party-goers were reported to be in good spirits. There was no argument, and Seymour did not point the gun. Afterward, he ran down the street for several blocks, discarded the gun and returned. He called 911 and concocted an alternate version of events.
The state argued discarding the gun supports its theory that the shooting was not an accident.
In an unsigned opinion by the court, the Fourth District said the evidence supports a lesser degree of homicide.
"Witnesses who observed the shooting all perceived that (Seymour) was surprised the victim was shot," the court said.
As for his hiding the gun, the Fourth District said he might have done that "knowing his status as a convicted felon precluded him from legally possessing one."
The opinion was released by Judges Dorian Damoorgian, Cory Ciklin and Alan Forst.