Abraham gets one bond reduced but not the other

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News
Nathaniel Abraham

Pontiac – Convicted killer Nathaniel Abraham got good news and bad news within an hour Tuesday from different judges reviewing his arrest following an indecent exposure complaint.

One judge lowered his bond on that charge back to $100, boosting his chances of leaving the Oakland County Jail. But a second judge refused to reduce his $25,000 bond in an alleged assault on police officers, saying jail might be the safest place for him right now.

Abraham, 32, made headlines in 1997 when, at 11 years old, he was charged in the fatal shooting of a man outside a Pontiac party store. He has subsequently been charged with drug dealing, assaulting a corrections officer in prison and assaulting three Oakland County sheriff’s deputies who used a stun gun to take him into custody Aug. 8 when he failed to show up for a court hearing.

An initial $100 bond was raised to $5,000, and Abraham also faced a $25,000 bond for the assault charges, landing him in jail. While the indecent exposure offense is a misdemeanor carrying only a 90-day jail sentence, Abraham also is charged with assaulting/resisting a police officer causing injury and two counts of felony assault/resisting a police office.

State sentencing guidelines suggest a range between 14 months and 43 months in prison.

Pontiac 50th District Judge Preston Thomas told Abraham on Tuesday he was “going to take a chance on you” and reduce his bond in the indecent exposure case to the original $100 and permit him to return to his mother’s address. That case stemmed from an arrest Aug. 6.

But less than a half hour later, after Abraham waived his right to a preliminary examination on the assault charges, Judge Ronda Fowlkes Gross, in the same courthouse, told Abraham the jail might be the best place for his own safety and declined to reduce his bond for those offenses.

“I do believe there was a grave mistake made by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (relating to low bond),” said Gross. “… My problem is what happened later … It doesn’t explain why he didn’t turn himself and why he fought with officers. This could have been avoided. He wouldn’t be here on these charges.”

Gross said she was told an “error” had occurred when Abraham was released from the indecent exposure arrest but said deputies went to his home and told him he had to turn himself into the court the next day.

James L. Galen Jr., Abraham’s attorney, told Gross his client was “terrified” and mistrustful of law enforcement because of his experiences since a teenager. Galen said Abraham felt he was being “harassed” by deputies when they told to report to court, and that he had a document that said he wasn’t due back until Aug. 20.

Abraham told the judges he wanted to get out of jail so he could continue counseling, and see a psychiatrist. He said he even lined up a job with a former employer.

“I’m concerned with your safety,” Gross told Abraham, saying she was worried he could find himself in trouble again if released.

Gross suggested if his current legal problems are ever resolved, Abraham should “leave Pontiac. Leave Oakland County.”  

Outside the courtroom, Galen said he agreed with Gross that his client would never find peace in Pontiac.

 “A lot of people believe in Nathaniel and are putting a bond together for him,” Galen said after the hearing. “I hope to have him home tonight.”

Thomas set a Nov. 8 trial date on the indecent exposure charge. The assault charges have been assigned to Oakland Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot.


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