Judge reduces bond for Tolono woman accused of injuring baby in her care

Judge reduces bond for Tolono woman accused of injuring baby in her care

URBANA — Over the objection of a prosecutor, a Champaign County judge Friday reduced the bond for a Tolono woman accused of seriously injuring an infant who was in her care last year.

Judge Roger Webber agreed to reduce Michele Reed's bond from $150,000 to $70,000 after hearing that she's been a model prisoner since her arrest last fall.

Reed, 41, of the 100 block of East Daggy Street is charged with aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, in connection with injuries that a then-6-month-old boy received on Oct. 13.

The request by Assistant Public Defender Tony Allegretti to lower Reed's bond was his second. He first did so in late November, but Webber refused at that time.

Citing the serious nature and circumstances of the offense, Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark objected to the motion. She added that Reed faces a mandatory six to 30 years in prison if convicted, which makes her a flight risk.

Clark said the child has ongoing serious health problems and has been through multiple surgeries since Oct. 13, when he was found unresponsive at Reed's home.

The baby had sustained bleeding in the brain. Clark said the allegation is that a frustrated Reed shook him, causing the injuries.

In his motion to reduce the bond, Allegretti said Reed is a lifelong resident of Champaign County, is married and has two adult children, one minor child and other close family members, who all live locally. As such, she is not a flight risk, he said.

He noted that she has no prior convictions and has been self-employed in child care for 22 years. Her incarceration has "strained" the family's financial situation, which he descried as living "paycheck to paycheck."

Allegretti presented Webber with correspondence from jail personnel who described Reed as a model prisoner who serves as a "trusty" — an inmate afforded extra privileges because of their good behavior. Reed's pastor also testified that she is growing in her spiritual relationship with Christ while in jail.

Webber went through some of the factors that the Legislature requires judges to consider in setting bond, including that the amount not be oppressive but enough to ensure that a defendant will show up for all court hearings.

He said the fact that she has not posted bond on the $150,000 in eight months suggests that the amount is oppressive. Allegretti asked for the $70,000 amount, saying that friends felt they could come up with $7,000 on Reed's behalf.

Webber also said the facts presented to him suggested that Reed's actions were not planned or premeditated but resulted in her being overwhelmed at her inability to effectively calm three very young children and losing control.

Reed is due back in court July 2. On May 29, Allegretti had asked that the case be continued to that date.

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