A Chicago man accused of sexual assault and robbery was released on $500 bail after a judge ruled that he was at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to his precondition of asthma. However after hearing additional evidence in the cases, the defendant was ordered back into custody. However, he has not been seen since then, Fox News reports.
Rene Chandler, 31, is awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting and battering two women he met on dating apps in separate attacks in 2018. While free on bail and wearing an electronic monitor for those cases, Chandler allegedly beat and robbed another woman in an Uber in April 2019. According to court documents, Chandler was ordered held without bail on the robbery charge for violating the terms of the sexual assault case bonds.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his attorney petitioned to have him released, and Cook County Judge Thomas Hennelly reversed course on Chandler’s no-bail status on April 9, CWB Chicago reported.
“He is absolutely not a flight risk,” Chandler’s defense attorney wrote in the bail reduction request.
Chandler posted a $500 deposit bond and was released from jail, court records show, according to reports by CWB Chicago.
However, later Judge Michael McHale was presented with evidence that the prosecution failed to produce during the April 9 hearing.
The prosecution brought evidence that alleged Chandler had made phone calls while in jail talking about paying off a victim so she could change her version of events.
Judge Michael McHale ordered Chandler to return to jail and to be held without bail. The hearing was conducted at a Zoom conference where participants are on video and not physically present. As a result, Chandler could not be taken into custody immediately and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Chandler remains at large.