Society

Judge Increases Bond For Brian Cloninger, Dallas Man Who Shot 8-Year-Old Black Child Through The Jaw

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A Texas District Judge can’t seem to make up his mind how much a man accused of shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face should have to pay in order to get out of jail while he waits for his trial.

Judge Larry Mitchell first set bond for Brian Cloninger, accused of shooting young Donald Maiden, Jr through the jaw Sept. 3, outside a Dallas apartment building, at $2.2 million, an amount that Cloninger’s attorney protested as “unconstitutionally high.”

Mitchell then dropped the bond to $1 million, though Cloninger’s wife said she could afford no more than a $25,000 bond. Nonetheless, on Wednesday, Cloninger was prepared to pay the bond to get out of jail where he awaits trial on a charge of injury to a child.

That’s when Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins stepped in and told the judge that in his opinion, Cloninger (pictured) poses a threat to the public.

“In our estimation, this guy should not be let out in public,” Watkins said.

The judge raised the bond amount to $5 million, or $1 million in straight cash bail. On Monday, the judge will hold another hearing to give Cloninger's lawyers yet another chance to get his bond reduced.

Donald Maiden was playing outside the building where his parents have an apartment when Cloninger fired two shots. One hit the boy in the face.

The child spent five weeks in the hospital, underwent several surgeries and may never regain feeling in his jaw.

A witness told police that after the shooting, the boy was lying on the pavement bleeding severely as Cloninger stood next to his pickup truck. The witness asked if Cloninger was responsible for the child’s injuries.

“Yes, I shot that boy,” Cloninger reportedly replied.

The child is African-American and Cloninger is white, prompting activists to call for a hate crimes investigation into the shooting.

"We know it was racially motivated, no question about that,” said activist Roy Williams. “It was a white man and a black boy."

Investigators say that Cloninger had been drinking at the time he shot the child, a violation of his probation on an earlier DUI conviction.

SOURCES: Dallas Morning News, NBC Dallas Fort Worth