Mathis helps suspects with bail bonds - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mathis helps suspects with bail bonds

Albany-- Authorities are investigating cases in which indicted Albany City Commissioner Henry Mathis posted bond for five people. Since 2003, Mathis has bailed five people out of the Dougherty County jail, each time putting up his home as bond.

After one of the suspects didn't show up for court, GBI and Sheriff's officials started looking at into all the incidents, they say just as precaution.

Just months after filing for bankruptcy, Albany commissioner Henry Mathis must come up with more than $450 to cover a forfitured bond. And that could be the least of his problems.

In November of 2003, Mathis posted bond for Michael Pernell Anderson. Anderson, who's was charged with possession of marijuana, didn't show for court Friday. Anderson was arrested Saturday, but Mathis must still pay 5% of the $8,500 bond plus court fees, equaling more than $450.

After filing an open records request with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office, WALB discovered that Mathis bailed five people out of jail in the last two years. In February of 2003, he posted bond for Angel Denise Witter, who was charged with aggravated assault for attacking a man with a steak knife. She plead guilty and received five years probation.

In the fall of 2003, Mathis posted bond for three men in less than three months. In September, Mathis bailed out Nathanial Davis, charged with cashing a lost check. Davis's case is still outgoing.

A month later, Mathis bailed out Jeffrey Christopher Walker arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Walker's case is also pending. In November, Anderson was arrested and once again Mathis came to the rescue, posting his bond.

Finally in April 2004, Mathis placed his last bond for Jeremy Bernard Lamar charged with possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Each time Mathis put up his Hobson Street home as a property bond.

Now, the GBI and Sheriff's department are looking into the circumstances of these bonds to see if they are in any way connected to the federal extortion charges Mathis is already facing. But investigators wouldn't say if they've found any proof of wrong doing by Mathis.

Mathis federal trial was continued while prosecutors seek additional charges. His new trial date will probably be in June. He has since been reinstated to his Ward II commission seat.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com

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