CINCINNATI — While Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said a murder caught on camera at a Roselawn bar was racially motivated, there are no plans to file hate crime charges. Instead, Deters said, he is focused on keeping the accused incarcerated.
Derek Smith was at Brandy's Bar on Oct. 8 when Deters said Lonnell Anderson jumped a fence, walked behind Smith and shot him twice in the head. Police said they do not believe the men knew each other.
While Deters said he is not allowed to discuss what defendants say before trial, he said the case is clear-cut. Still, despite "overwhelming" evidence the murder was racially motivated, Deters said a charge would likely add nothing to Anderson's conviction.
"The evidence that this was racially based is overwhelming...it's a misdemeanor," Deters said. "I got him charged with aggravated murder."
Deters said there is no sense in pursuing the misdemeanor hate crime because someone convicted of aggravated murder "shouldn't ever get out of jail."
"He's going to go to jail for the rest of his life for the aggravated murder until some goofy judge lets him out," Deters said.
Anderson, Deters said, had no business being on the street. At the time of the shooting, Anderson was out of jail on bond for illegally having a gun. His priors include a conviction for intimidating a witness with threatening calls to prevent her from testifying in a child endangerment case. While upset that a judge let someone bail Anderson out of jail with $400, Deters said it is not rare.
"Anybody who's charged and indicted with a weapons charge should not be out of jail," Deters said. "If you want to fight the fight in terms of what's happening in Hamilton County and this area, target the people who pull the triggers — not the guns, not the knives, not the tall buildings people get thrown off of once in a while...the problem is the people who pull the trigger."
Deters said he plans to launch a Facebook page detailing questionable cases where bonds were given to people on weapons charges.
"If they don't start incarcerating violent criminals, we're going to be Chicago," Deters said. "We're going to be St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia — we're going to be just like them."