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Judge increases ex-MSU star Appling's bonds

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — A judge increased bond Wednesday for former Michigan State basketball star Keith Appling in two of three gun-related gun cases during an emergency bond hearing at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon increased Appling's bond for each case to $50,000, 10 percent. The defendant also must wear a tether and must remain home between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. each night.

Appling was arrested May 1 in Dearborn and June 18 in Detroit, both on weapons charges. He originally had a $5,000 personal bond in the first case and a $5,000, 10 percent bond in the second case.

He was taken into custody a third time Sunday night and arraigned Tuesday before a Detroit magistrate who warned him to stay away from guns. Appling, who appeared by video, was given a $50,000, 10 percent bond in that case.

Appling is due back in court Nov. 11 for a final conference for his first two cases. Trials are set for Dec. 14 and Jan. 11.

If he is bound over on the third arrest, that case also will be brought into Talon's courtroom, the judge said.

Defense attorney Otis Culpepper on Wednesday opposed the increase in bonds, suggesting his client was targeted by two Detroit police officers who arrested him twice within three months.

"You do understand that the same two officers that arrested him on his second case (also) arrested him on the third," Culpepper said before Talon. "The same two officers. How likely is that?"

Talon in court dismissed the revelation, saying Wednesday's hearing was to focus on bond, not allegations in the specific cases.

The prosecution on Wednesday insisted a higher bond was necessary following Appling's repeated arrests. The lawyer and judge each dismissed Culpepper's argument that Appling deserved to keep a lower bond since he has repeatedly shown up on time for court hearings.

"I'm not concerned with Mr. Appling appearing for court. He has appeared for court," Talon said. "The thing that the court is concerned with here is that while the defendant has been on bond ... he has picked up new cases."

Culpepper was visibly disappointed by the judge's decision to increase the bonds.

"If Mr. Appling was like everybody else, this motion for bond wouldn't have been brought," he said in court after the judge's decision. "There's a kind of grand-standing going on."

Culpepper also argued that the judge was "pre-judging conviction" by claiming Appling committed new crimes while on bond. The judge assured that Appling is considered innocent until proven guilty, but that his bonds must reflect his repeated arrests.

After the hearing, Culpepper spoke with media and repeated his disbelief.

"How often does lightening strike the same place that quickly," Culpepper said. When asked if he was suggesting Detroit officers followed Appling with the intent to arrest, Culpepper repeated, word-for-word, his lightning strike comment.

"This is specialized attention for a specialized person," he said.

Culpepper said he was confident his client would be released within "a couple hours" on Wednesday.

"I don't like it, but it's livable," Culpepper said of the new bonds.

In his most recent arrest Sunday, Appling was stopped around 9:10 p.m. near Russell and East Seven Mile, according to Detroit police. Officers from the department’s tactical response unit pulled him over after allegedly spotting his blue 2013 Dodge Challenger make a traffic violation.

When officers talked with Appling, they allegedly noticed “a strong odor of marijuana” coming from the car and requested his driver’s license.

But when the officer reached inside the Challenger to get the license, Appling allegedly rolled up the window and drove off. The officer was able to free himself from the car before it pulled away and was not dragged or hurt, according to the statement.

Officers pursued Appling’s vehicle to Orleans and East State Fair, the statement said, “and took Appling into custody without incident.”

At that point, an officer involved in the initial stop noticed a Gucci bag that had been in the back seat of the Challenger was no longer there. Police said officers backtracked the route Appling drove and found the bag, which contained paperwork with Appling’s name on it, along with a blue steel semi-automatic Beretta with 10 live rounds inside, on the side of the road.

Appling was arrested for fleeing and eluding and for carrying a concealed weapon, said Sgt. Michael Woody of the Detroit Police Department. No marijuana was recovered.

Appling, a former Detroit Pershing standout, played at Michigan State from 2010-14, starting 132 games for the Spartans. He averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 assists as a senior. He played five games last season for the NBA’s Orlando Magic, spending most of the season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League.

Appling’s agent, Ronald Shade, had not heard about Appling’s latest brush with the law when contacted Monday by The Detroit News. He said he would comment on it once he has spoken with Appling’s mother.

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