ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Bond for the man accused of striking an Allegan County sheriff’s deputy, causing him to lose consciousness, was increased Thursday after the prosecutor filed a motion to review the initial dollar amount.
Christopher Gerou, 35, of Dorr, is charged with five felonies, including attempted murder. Attorney Magistrate Daniel Norbeck set his bond at $10,000 bond at arraignment Wednesday, acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations against Gerou but saying it has been nearly a decade since his last conviction. Allegan County Prosecutor Myrene Koch, who had asked for a bond 10 times higher, told News 8 she “strongly disagree(d)” with the bond.
Her office filed a motion for a judicial review and it was heard Thursday afternoon. Allegan County District Court Judge William Baillargeon increased the bond to $50,000.
Koch again sought a $100,000 bond, reiterating the seriousness of the charges against Gerou and the severity of the deputy’s injuries.
“The defendants own statements recorded on bodycam the night of the incident included such things ask, ‘I will kill,’ ‘I will knock you out,’ and once the victim in this case was rendered unconscious, the defendant said repeatedly, ‘I hope he dies,'” Koch told the judge.
She added that while Koch has not been charged with a felony since 2014, he spent much of that time in prison, where he had “continued violent behavior.” She argued he may have an ongoing problem with alcohol and said that deputies have been called to his home at least six times in the last 30 days.
“Those appear to be increasing in both violence and severity,” Koch said.
But Public Defender Jordan Sayfie pointed out that none of those incidents — with the exception of the most recent — resulted in any charges. He rejected Koch’s argument that Gerou was a flight risk, saying Gerou has always lived in Allegan County, has family in the county and does not have a history of failing to show up for court. Sayfie argued the $10,000 bond was appropriate.
“Mr. Gerou’s clearly not posted it; he’s indicated he probably won’t be able to post it,” Sayfie said.
Baillargeon agreed with the defense that the recent police calls to Gerou’s home did not weigh heavily in his decision because they had not produced charges and said that without a job, $10,000 was a lot of money for Gerou.
While the judge stressed that he did not want to minimize the seriousness of the charges or the deputy’s injuries, he indicated some skepticism about the most serious count.
“Whether or not it warrants a charge of attempted murder, well, that remains to be seen at a preliminary examination, I would imagine,” Baillargeon said.
Still, the judge also said the case warranted a bond increase to serve as a strong motivation to show up to court.
“I do believe that this is a matter that warrants some special attention based on the seriousness … of the injuries imposed or inflicted upon the officer,” the judge said.
He said that if Gerou posts bond, he must submit to alcohol monitoring and wear a GPS tether.
Authorities say that on Monday night, they were called to Gerou’s neighborhood on a reckless driving report. Gerou failed a field sobriety test and refused a breath test, a court document shows. When an Allegan County sheriff’s deputy tried to arrest him, he struck the deputy, causing him to lose consciousness, the document says. A Michigan State Police trooper on the scene ultimately arrested Gerou.
During Thursday’s hearing, Koch said the deputy sustained multiple skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. She said he remained in the hospital and it was unclear when he would be able to go home. The sheriff said Wednesday the deputy’s condition was showing improvement.
As Thursday’s proceedings began and Koch started laying out her argument for a higher bond, Gerou raised his hand and then interrupted her, asking, “Can I say something?”
The judge advised against it and gave the public defender a few moments to speak privately with his client, reminding him that comments he makes in court could turn out to be against his best interests. When Gerou and the public defender returned to the hearing, Gerou remained quiet.