A judge refused to lower the bail of Robin E. Jones, the Perrysburg woman charged with killing four pedestrians in a drunken-driving incident on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in August. Prosecutors said they fear she'll flee to Canada.
State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti rejected a request from John V. Elmore, Ms. Jones' attorney, to let her out of jail on a $25,000 insurance bond that Ross John, a reservation businessman, offered to post.
Rossetti said he found Ms. Jones' current $50,000 bail appropriate and scheduled further proceeding in the case for Dec. 16. Court officials said that date is the deadline for a possible pretrial guilty plea in the case before pretrial hearings are scheduled.
Ms. Jones, 23, was indicted on multiple counts of vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving in the deaths of Shawnah Montour and her cousin, Michelle L. Hidalgo, both 20 and both from Fort Erie, Ont.; Louann Ground, 15, of Niagara Falls and Brandy VanEvery, 21, of Buffalo.
Two dozen relatives of the victims, upset at Ross John's offer, appeared during a hearing Thursday and complained about the state's sentencing laws.
Prosecutor Leonard E. Krawczyk Jr. told the judge the district attorney's office opposes a bail reduction.
After the court session, Renee Hess, grandmother of Shawnah Montour and aunt of Michelle L. Hidalgo, said the families of all four victims plan to work hard to try to change New York State's sentencing laws that bar consecutive sentences for the deaths of multiple victims.
Mrs. Hess said she and the other victims' family members "are going to work hard to change that legislation."
"It's time that (the sentencing law) was changed, the laws leave too many hurt feelings," said Mrs. Hess. Mrs. Hess also called John's insurance bond bail offer an inappropriate attempt to inject tribal politics in the criminal case.
John is a candidate for president of the Seneca Nation. The election is Nov. 5.