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Buie denied bond

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Former Albany Downtown Manager Don Buie will stay in jail. Monday a judge refused to grant him bond.

Buie's Mother testified at his bond hearing.  She says the community is blowing allegations that he stole thousands of dollars of taxpayer money "all out of proportion."

Don Buie's attorney told the Judge that he is not a threat to the community, and had returned to Albany voluntarily to face the charges. His wife and a girlfriend were also indicted for cashing ADICA checks written by Buie.

So it was a bit of a surprise when yet another girlfriend and his mother showed up in court this morning to testify on his behalf.

Don Buie never spoke during his bond hearing. He sat shoulders slumped, staring straight ahead, showing no emotion most of the proceeding. In court his mother Linda Buie and Leah Culbreath, introduced as Buie's girlfriend, with whom he was living with in Charlotte, North Carolina before turning himself in for arrest.  

Both testified that Buie was not a flight risk. Culbreath said Buie could live with her family or at her apartment in Albany if he were released on bond.

Culbreath said "I still have an apartment here in Albany. I just relocated to set up a jewelry store in South Carolina." Prosecutor Chris Cohilas asked "So will you be returning?" Culbreath said "I will, if I have to."

Linda Buie said "I know Don will show up in court, because I am going to be showing up in court with a baseball bat."

But Prosecutors pointed out that Buie not only had no ties anymore to Albany, but no ties to any community.   Judge Denise Marshall said that was too big a risk to let Buie leave jail.

 Judge Marshall said "He has no real reason to land here. I was surprised to hear he has no bank accounts anywhere."  "Evidence of the non-existence of these criteria is sufficient for the court to deny bond. That is what the court is going to do. Bond denied."

Buie's attorney did not want to speak on camera, but said that she will now file a motion for a speedy trial for Buie, and hopes to force it by next month.

Prosecutors say they will be ready. Chief Assistant D. A. Christopher Cohilas said "We will wait and see what paperwork the defendant files. We stand ready to try the case. And will proceed as the court instructs."

Buie's Mother left the Jail without speaking to her son, disappointed that he can not return home, because the judge ruled him a flight risk.

Linda Buie said it is, "Just out of character. I mean there's no threat. He's not going to run. He would not have turned himself in if he was going to run. I mean this seems to be the big news, I don't know if it's because this is a small town or what. But this is just blown up out of proportion. I don't know, but thank you for your concern."

Buie's girlfriend said as they left "it's like they are trying to cover up for somebody else."

Buie's attorney Johnnie Graham said as she left the jail that child molesters are released on bond, so it doesn't make sense to keep Buie in jail until his trial.

Prosecutors and a GBI Agent who testified during the bond hearing say their Investigation into the ADICA finances continues, and more charges could be filed.

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