Two of the three Peekskill residents arrested and charged with second-degree felony robbery and second-degree felony assault stemming from a Sunday robbery were released on their own recognizance despite the fact that, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the assistant DA requested bail to be set at $25,000 for the pair. A third suspect was held on $2,000 bail due to an unrelated domestic violence charge, despite the fact that the DA had asked for bail to be set at $30,000.
When contacted Tuesday morning, Peekskill City Judge Melissa Loehr said that as a judge, she is unable to comment or get involved in politics. However, a judicial spokesman said the following:
“Judges have broad discretion when deciding whether to set bail or bond,” said Lucian Chalfen, director of public information for New York State Unified Court System. “In this instance, Judge Loehr made her decisions based on the facts and circumstances of the respective cases as she saw them and the information that she had at the time of the arraignments. To my knowledge, Judge Loehr had whatever information was included in the felony complaint at the time of arraignment.”
The Westchester District Attorney’s Office provided copies of the felony complaints to The Peekskill Post. The complaints include clear descriptions of the crime and charges against the defendants. Out of respect for the victim’s wish that his name not be made public, those complains are not included in this article. If found guilty, the Class C felony robbery charges alone could land the suspects in prison for anywhere from three-and-a-half to 15 years.
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The suspects are Peekskill residents Essa and Ishamail Mcgougain, both 21, and Akeem Joseph, 20. The Mcgougains were set free while Joseph was held on $2,000 bail.
According to Peekskill Chief of Police Eric Johansen, the three men are also suspects in other recent crimes, including a violent attack that sent a man to Westchester Medical Center in critical condition. In each case, it is believed that all of the victims have been Hispanic males.