Indians Accused in Hostage-Taking Leave Jail On Bail
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) _ Two American Indians headed in different directions as they left jail five months after they were arrested for taking as many as 20 people hostage in a newspaper office.
Eddie Hatcher, 30, and Timothy Jacobs, 19, were freed under $100,000 unsecured bonds Tuesday and ordered not to set foot in Robeson County while awaiting trial, scheduled to start Monday.
″I’ve seen murderers and rapists let out on bond right away, but they put us through hell for the last five months,″ Jacobs, 19, said as he left the courthouse.
″I’m glad to be out,″ Hatcher said. ″It feels good.″
U.S. Magistrate Charles McCotter indicated he was reluctant to free the men, who are accused of taking hostages Feb. 1 at The Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton.
But he said a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week, which held that Hatcher and Jacobs had been denied a timely detention hearing after their arrest, gave him no choice.
Under the conditions McCotter set, Hatcher and Jacobs are to stay out of Robeson County, avoid all contact with government witnesses, report daily by telephone to probation officers and return to the residences of court-approved ″custodians″ by 9 p.m. daily.
Hatcher will stay with an uncle in Winston-Salem while awaiting trial.
Jacobs will live in Halifax County with a family friend.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Bruce had asked McCotter to keep the two in jail, but if that was not possible, to put them under virtual house arrest. Bruce argued that the appeals court ruling had only ordered a new hearing, and that the judges had not considered evidence relating to the seriousness of the crime.
Hatcher and Jacobs said they took over the newspaper office to bring attention to drug trafficking and racial injustices in Robeson County law enforcement.