ST. LOUIS - We are asking more questions about a troubling and deadly domestic violence incident where the suspect was bonded out of jail by a national group shortly before he allegedly beat his wife so severely that she later died.
We first brought you the story last night; tonight, the man is facing a murder charge.
“It`s just unbelievable. It`s still a shock,” said a family member of 54-year-old Marcia Johnson about Marcia`s tragic death.
She did not want to be identified.
Police say Marcia died after a severe beating from her husband, 54-year-old Samuel Lee Scott.
Scott is now charged with first-degree murder.
“I can`t believe that a person would do this to a person like this especially a person that loved life, loved everyone, especially her kids,” said Marcia`s family member.
Court documents show Scott was charged on April 5th with domestic assault for allegedly hitting Marcia back in January 'causing pain to her ear and cheekbone.'
The documents read that as Marcia was trying to leave their south city apartment after that incident, Scott told her that he 'might as well finish what [he] started since [she] was going to contact the police.'
Scott was jailed in connection with the April 5th charge.
On April 8th investigators say Marcia obtained an order of protection against Scott, that prohibited Scott from entering her home and being within 300 feet of her.
Scott was served with the order the next day.
On that same day, court documents reveal that 'The Bail Project,' a national bond assistance group with an office in downtown St. Louis, posted Scott`s $5,000 cash only bond to get him out of jail.
Court documents read, 'Upon being released, [Scott] went to [Marcia`s] home around 7:45pm. At about 11pm [Marcia] was taken to the hospital by a friend when she observed blood coming from [Marcia`s] head and body. [Marcia] was unconscious, had a broken eye socket, several broken ribs and was bruised from head to toe.'
The documents go on to read that Marcia died from blunt force trauma five days later and that [Scott] admitted to striking her.
Marcia`s family member spoke directly to The Bail Project.
“It`s because of you all that he was out and got to her. If he was still locked up she would still be here with us today,” she said.
We tried repeatedly starting Monday to get answers from The Bail Project about this case.
We went to the downtown office, emailed, used Facebook Messenger, even went to the home of a Bail Project official.
Finally, the St. Louis Site Manager Mike Milton responded with a statement Tuesday afternoon.
It reads in part, 'We`re deeply saddened by this tragedy...Our deepest condolences and sympathies go to Marcia Johnson`s family...It`s important to remember that bail didn`t cause this tragedy; Mr. Scott, a 54-year-old father of eight, was charged with a low-level misdemeanor, and if he`d just been wealthy enough to afford his bail, or bonded out by a commercial bail bond agency, he would have been free as well. We provided bail assistance based on the fact that the court had deemed him eligible for release before trial. No one could have predicted this tragedy.'
Marcia`s family member has a message for Scott.
“Us, the family will eventually forgive you after it`s all said and done because God is a forgiving God but at this time it`s going to be hard. I just hope you sit there and think about what you did to our family member,” she explained.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner issued a statement reading in part, 'As various organizations attempt to address bail reform, we believe every case should be reviewed on its own merits rather than on broad classifications that may increase greater harm than it reduces...I have scheduled a meeting with The Bail Project for later this week to review their policies and practices to help them better understand the risks to victims and witnesses when posting bail for any type of domestic violence cases or for any defendant who is a potential safety risk to an individual or to the community.'
The Bail Project still has not answered a question that we have asked them several times: Does the group have a policy when it comes to bonding out those accused of domestic violence crimes?
We will keep on asking that question.
Scott is now jailed on a one-million-dollar cash-only bond.