Bond lowered for indicted Detroit cop

George Hunter, and Holly Fournier

Detroit — A judge lowered bond Wednesday for a Detroit police officer indicted last week on charges he didn’t act on prior knowledge about a murder scheme, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Judge Timothy Kenny lowered bond for Elijah Lately to $100,000 cash or surety, said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

Lately currently is suspended from the force, Miller said.

Bond initially was set last week at $400,000 cash. If released, Lately must wear a GPS tether and remain at home except for attending court, meeting his attorney, Gerald Evelyn, and attending church on Sundays, Miller said.

Lately allegedly told a killer to lay low after a homicide and tried to thwart a police investigation in to the crime. He was indicted Aug. 17 on two counts of lying to a police officer in a violent crime investigation.

If convicted, Lately faces up to four years in prison. He is due back in court Oct. 10 for a final conference and the trial is expected to begin Nov. 30.

Also indicted last week was the man prosecutors allege carried out the April 23 killing of Brandon Rice, a father of six who was gunned down on his front porch in the 300 block of Elmhurst in Highland Park.

Prosecutors say Lately, who formerly worked in the 3rd Precinct, knew about Dmarco Hoskins’ plan to kill Rice, but did nothing to stop him.

Hoskins allegedly killed Rice to prevent him from testifying against him in another case.

Hoskins was denied bond by Wayne Chief Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny after being charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness intimidation.

“The allegation that a police officer would sit on knowledge regarding a homicide, and allegedly alert others who were involved in the conspiracy to kill a witness to lay low is shocking, quite frankly,” Kenny said. “Not only is it a threat to the community, but a threat to the court system.”

In a news release, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said Lately was questioned April 24 by a Michigan State Police detective and again July 20 by a Detroit Police homicide detective.

“The allegations against the officer in this case are deeply disturbing,” county Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Anna Posigian said there was a long-standing dispute between Hoskins and Rice.

“The homicide of Brandon Rice is the final act in a long series of events involving Mr. Hoskins assaulting Brandon Rice,” she said. “There was a nonfatal shooting in 2013 ... where Brandon Rice’s daughter, niece and brother were shot. The defendant has been indicted on that case; that is currently pending.

“Earlier this year, on March 31, the same victim, Brandon Rice, was shot with a .45 caliber weapon,” Posigian said. “The defendant ... was indicted on assault with intent to commit murder on that case. He then fled the jurisdiction. He concocted a plan to have somebody else kill Brandon Rice.

“The weapon that was used to shoot and kill Brandon Rice is a .45... and there is a preliminary ballistics match (that shows) they were fired from the same gun,” Posigian said.

“The purpose of having Brandon Rice killed was twofold: There was an ongoing dispute between Mr. Hoskins and Mr. Rice, but ... but more importantly, Brandon Rice was killed in order to prevent him from testifying against Dmarco Hoskins in trial,” Posigian said.

Posigian did not say which charges Hoskins faced in which Rice was scheduled to testify.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran said Lately was a “danger to the community.”

“The defendant had knowledge of the conspiracy (to kill Rice) and as a police officer did nothing about it,” Moran said. “And once he was interviewed about the homicide, he lied to police.”

Lately’s mother, Marlene Johnson, has insisted her son is innocent.

“He’s been treated like an animal,” she said. “They came to our house with a SWAT team, and they didn’t find anything. We’re cooperating with the police.”

Lately’s aunt, Sebrina Johnson, added: “Eli was blindsided by this. He would never hurt anybody. We feel bad for the deceased and his family, but Eli didn’t know about (the plan to kill him). To say he’s a danger to society is ridiculous.”

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