McDONOUGH — A judge has denied a request to reduce the $500,000 bond set for Dexter De’Shawn Covington, the accused shooter in the 2017 death of Stockbridge student Jesse Thomas.
Thomas was shot once at a graduation party May 13 at a McDonough area home. Prosecutors have said the shooting resulted from a dispute among Covington and several others near the front door, when Covington was asked to leave the party and refused.
Covington has pleaded not guilty to charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault in Thomas’ death. He maintains the shooting was in self-defense.
His defense attorney, Dwight Thomas, argued for bond reduction in a hearing before Judge Brian Amero Tuesday. In a motion filed with Henry County Superior Court, Thomas asks for a “reasonable bond” for Covington, whom he said “does not have the ability to make bond.”
He was initially granted bond in September after it was determined that a grand jury had not returned a bill of indictment within 90 days of his May 19 arrest, as required by Georgia law.
“Ninety-one days, bond must be granted. In this case, we have 92 days,” Amero said during the September hearing. “While I agree with Judge Simmons’ assessment of this case, we are going to go ahead and grant the bond.”
Dwight Thomas had previously petitioned the court for bond and was denied in June, prior to the Aug. 24 indictment. Visiting Senior Judge Matthew Simmons found that Covington posed a threat to the community, could intimidate witnesses and was at significant risk of committing new felonies should he be released from jail. Simmons also found that there were “no conditions of bond that would prevent that risk.”
Covington’s bond remains at $500,000, the initial amount requested by Assistant District Attorney Chaundra Lewis. As conditions of pre-trial release, Covington is to wear an ankle monitor and come under 24-hour family supervision at his mother’s Jonesboro home. He is not allowed to leave the home or have contact with anyone other than his attorney, parents and maternal grandparents.
He has been held in the Henry County Jail since his May arrest.