MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In a brief Friday morning hearing, a Mobile judge granted a prosecutor’s request to temporarily deny bond for the man accused of killing one and injuring several others in a New Year’s Eve shooting in downtown Mobile.
Thomas Earl Thomas, 22, is suspected in the murder of Jatarious Reives, 24. Thomas is charged with murder, first-degree assault, shooting into an occupied building and shooting into an unoccupied building.
An attorney representing Thomas said Thomas acted in self-defense, returning fire after someone shot at him first.
“It was self-defense, please look at my client. Look at my client’s history. He is a good kid, but when it’s your life, your brain’s going to be on the sidewalk, you best better believe you have a right to defend yourself,” said Chase Dearman, the defense attorney representing Thomas.
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine said Thomas was the instigator.
“The shooter and the victim got in some sort of verbal altercation where Mr. Thomas pulled out his hand gun and immediately shot and killed our victim, and then he engaged in gunfire with an associate of the victim, and then indiscriminately shot into a crowd, wounding 7 other people. That cannot be tolerated in a civil society,” said Prine on Thursday afternoon as they took Thomas to Metro jail.
The bond denial was based on Aniah’s Law, which allows judges to deny bond to violent crime offenders in an effort to keep them off the streets and prevent them from committing other crimes.
Thomas will be back in court on January 12, 2023, for a pre-trial detention hearing under Aniah’s Law. That hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to detain Thomas without bail until trial.
Thomas was taken into custody on Jan. 1 and taken to a hospital for treatment. Thomas was released from the hospital and taken to Mobile County Metro Jail on Thursday. At about 11:14 p.m. Dec. 31, Reives was shot and killed and another nine people, ages 17 to 57, were shot.
This video, from Thursday, shows Thomas being taken to Mobile County Metro Jail:
Mobile Mayor sent a statement on the hearing Friday afternoon:
“Today, we learned the suspect in the New Year’s Eve shooting in Downtown Mobile will face a pretrial detention hearing as outlined under Aniah’s Law. The hearing will be held to determine if there is sufficient evidence to detain Thomas Thomas Jr., without bail until trial. He is currently facing charges of murder, assault first-degree, shooting into an occupied building, and shooting into an unoccupied building related to the December 31 incident. More charges could be added as the investigation progresses. The pretrial detention hearing will take place on Thursday, January 12, at 9 a.m. We believe there is more than sufficient evidence to show that Thomas’ actions on New Year’s Eve demonstrated a clear disregard for human life and that his release on bail while awaiting trial would present a clear danger to the public. I want to take this opportunity to thank the more than 1 million Alabamians who voted to ratify Aniah’s Law in 2022. We will provide additional updates as this case moves forward.”Mayor Sandy Stimpson