A St. Louis man has been charged with murdering his wife just hours after a nonprofit organization posted his $5,000 bail in a domestic violence case also involving his wife, according to court filings.
Samuel Lee Scott, age 54, was arrested for misdemeanor domestic assault after allegedly hitting his spouse, Marcia Johnson, on April 5, and inflicting injuries to her face, ear and cheek bone. Scott was released from jail on April 9, after the St. Louis Bail Project paid his bail.
Scott arrived at Johnson’s house at 7:45 p.m. the same night. She was rushed to the hospital mere hours later with “a broken eye socket, several broken ribs, and [bruises] from head to toe,” according to the probable cause statement from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. She died five days later.
Scott had threatened that he “might as well finish what [he] started since [she] was going to call the police,” according to the probable cause statement. He also has several assault and drug crime convictions on his record.
The Bail Project is a national organization predicated on paying the bail of people who are awaiting trial behind bars and are unable to afford their own release. The nonprofit expanded to St. Louis in January 2018.
“No one could have predicted this tragedy,” said the group’s Executive Director, Robin Steinberg, in a statement. “It’s important to remember that had he been wealthy enough to afford his bail, or bonded out by a commercial bail bond agency, he would have been free pretrial as well. In times like this, we must come together for this family and keep sight of the need to transform the larger systems that create poverty, racism and violence, including the pretrial bail system.”
St. Louis Attorney General Kim Gardner plans to meet with the nonprofit “to review their policies and practices to help them better understand the risks to victims and witnesses when posting bail for any type of domestic violence cases or for any defendant who is a potential safety risk to an individual or to the community,” according to a statement released by her office. (RELATED: A Man Told His Girlfriend To Run As He Was Murdered. It Led To An International Manhunt That Put Her Behind Bars)
Scott is now being held on $1 million bond.