A judge Tuesday agreed to allow the man accused in the burning and beating of his 3-year-old son Zander Saucier to remain free on bond pending trial.
Circuit Judge Robert Krebs made the ruling after hearing from prosecutors that Nathan Blake McCrory, 25, had violated the terms of his release on $100,000 bond when he drove by the home of a witness in George County on Jan. 22.
McCrory was arrested on two counts of felony child abuse of his son. A grand jury indicted him on four counts of felony child abuse.
“We can demonstrate that he did, in fact, go to the location of these witnesses,” Assistant District Attorney Angel Myers told the court.
“In the seven months he has been monitored, this is the only infraction he had,” Myers told the judge. “We, the state, have to balance the protection of the community and the witnesses in the case, but also we must enforce the Constitution and feel there are conditions that could ensure he is not a threat to the witnesses in the case.
“While we have filed his motion, we do think there are conditions on his bail that will ensure the safety of individuals in this case.”
The judge had temporarily revoked McCrory’s bond after his arrest following his indictment last week on the two additional charges of felony child abuse. The hearing Tuesday was to determine whether the bond would remain revoked.
McCrory had been out on bond whose conditions required him to wear a GPS and alcohol-monitoring device. He also had orders to stay away from witnesses in the case, including one of his children who allegedly witnessed the abuse of Zander. That child lives with her mother in George County.
Krebs said in making the ruling any violation whatsoever will result in revocation of bond.
He set a tentative trial date of July 24 and will hear motions in the case June 22.
The judge followed the prosector’s recommendation that McCrory wear an even more high-tech steel GPS device. Krebs also ordered McCrory to stay at a single address in Jackson County unless he’s going to see his attorney.
The mother of McCrory’s daughter has a protection order preventing McCrory from coming within 1,100 feet of her after he was accused of assaulting her a couple of times and damaging her car.
According to records obtained by the Sun Herald, Jackson County deputies arrested McCrory in April 2013 on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence by simple assault and malicious mischief.
The woman had called authorities in 2011 to say she suspected McCrory had damaged her vehicle, but did not pursue charges at that time.
He ‘grabbed (her) by the hair’
In an incident Nov. 29, 2014, in Okaloosa County, Florida, deputies arrested McCrory on two counts of first-degree battery by domestic violence, both misdemeanors.
In that case, the mother of his other child told authorities she and McCrory got into an argument while riding in the backseat of a truck in Fort Walton Beach, an affidavit says.
McCrory “grabbed (the woman) by her hair and started pulling it ...,” according to Okaloosa County officials.
The driver stopped, got out and went to try to break up the fight, the affidavit said. McCrory hit the man even as the woman tried to pull McCrory off him. The man returned to the driver’s seat and began driving again, the records says, but McCrory reached from the backseat and hit him again.
The driver said he intervened again when he heard the woman shout, “Blake, don’t hit me.”
Mother witnessed fight
McCrory’s mother also was a witness. She confirmed McCrory and the woman got into a fight and that her son hit the driver “several times.”
McCrory claimed he was acting in self-defense, records say.
Okaloosa County investigators noted McCrory appeared to be impaired at the time of his arrest, reeking of alcohol with his eyes bloodshot.
After news spread of Zander’s injuries last year, South Mississippi residents rallied around the family to provide support.
Zander’s mother, Emily Breland, has stayed by his side since the day her son was hospitalized. She said her son has recovered physically and is doing well.