Detroit, MI – A murder suspect was released on bond just one day before he shot two women and committed a series of kidnappings and carjackings across Wayne County.
Many have argued that the legal system failed to protect the community, and blamed the court for the violent offender’s release, WXYZ reported.
Allen Farris, 56, a convicted sex offender, was ultimately killed in a gunfight with police on April 4, the WDIV reported.
It was unclear whether Farris shot himself, or if he was shot by officers.
On March 23, Farris was arraigned on charges of destruction of property and assault with a dangerous weapon, after he attacked Isaiah Melton on the east side of Detroit, WJBK reported.
Isaiah and his brother were searching for their father, Larry Melton Jr., who was also Farris’ roommate, when Farris allegedly tried to run them over.
"As soon as we swing around the corner, he comes and hits the car,” Isaiah told WJBK. “He backs up and my brother jumps out and he ran at my brother with the car. My brother jumps out in the nick of time.”
Farris was arrested for the attack, and police continued to search for Larry Jr.
Several weeks later, Larry Jr.’s body was found stuffed beneath the porch of an abandoned Detroit residence.
"He was beaten. Severely beaten,” the victim’s father, Larry Melton Sr., told WJBK. “Really, no human being, animal, or anyone should [be treated] the way they [treated] my son.”
Larry Jr.’s family waited for investigators to gather evidence to charge Farris for the murder, and said they were not worried about him being released from custody due to his extensive criminal history and pending charges related to the attack on Isaiah and his brother.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office denied having promised Larry Jr.’s family that Farris would remain in jail, but said they argued for him to remain in custody, and asked the court for a high bond.
On April 2 – the same day that the murder charge was about to be filed – Farris was released from jail after posting just $2,500 bond.
When he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing on April 3, a warrant for his arrest was issued, WDIV reported.
According to the Michigan State Police, Farris’ crime spree began at 9 p.m. on the same day of his missed court appearance, when he attempted to carjack a woman outside a Salvation Army store.
He shot the female driver, then fled on foot to another residence, where he unsuccessfully attempted to break in.
Minutes later, Farris successfully broke into another home, shot a second woman, and stole her vehicle.
Officers were able to track the stolen vehicle, and pursued Farris, who ultimately crashed.
He then took off on foot, and carjacked another vehicle with a female occupant outside of a CVS store. He bound the victim with duct tape, and held her at gunpoint, but later released her in the Highland Park area.
Investigators were able to use the vehicle’s GPS system to track Farris to a residential neighborhood in the early morning hours of April 4.
At approximately 3:30 a.m., Farris attempted to carjack an undercover Michigan State trooper, which led to an exchange of gunfire.
He again fled the area, and was later spotted at approximately 7:20 a.m., as he hid behind a garage. Farris shot at the officers, who returned fire.
Farris was pronounced dead at the scene.
No officers were injured during the altercations, and the women Farris shot were hospitalized in good condition, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Farris’ criminal history included charges of assault, criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery, and kidnapping, and spanned over a period of three decades, WXYZ reported.
His violent past, coupled with his pending charges, spurred arguments that the court never should have afforded him such a low bond.
“The bottom line is, it’s concerning,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told WXYZ. “I understand the purpose of bail, but we have to give weight to the impact that releasing someone on low bail has on public safety.”
Despite prosecutors’ request for a high bond, the court argued that Farris’ bond amount was “not unreasonable,” WXYZ reported.
“He had a prior criminal history, but his prior convictions arose from a single transaction in 1986, more than 30 years ago,” the court said in a statement. “Mr. Farris had been discharged from parole in 2008, 10 years ago.”
The Melton family said they were frustrated to learn that no one would ever face justice for Larry Jr.’s murder.
"The biggest flaw I see is letting him go,” Larry Sr. told WJBK. “The biggest flaw I see in the system is how did this guy get out?"