ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man released from jail after a nonprofit group posted his $5,000 bail in a domestic violence case went that same night to his wife’s home and killed her, prosecutors allege in charging documents.
Samuel Lee Scott, 54, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, 54-year-old Marcia Johnson. Scott is now jailed on $1 million bond.
Scott was charged April 5 with misdemeanor domestic assault for allegedly striking Johnson in the face in January, injuring her ear and cheekbone. A probable cause statement from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said he also threatened that he “might as well finish what (he) started since (she) was going to contact the police.”
The probable cause statement said that on April 9, the St. Louis Bail Project posted Scott’s bail and he was released. The group is part of the Bail Project, a national organization that bails out people who are jailed awaiting trial and can’t afford their own bail.
The probable cause statement said Scott went to his wife’s home at 7:45 that same night. At 11 p.m., a friend took Johnson to a hospital after finding her head and body bloodied. Johnson “was unconscious, had a broken eye socket, several broken ribs, and was bruised from head to toe,” the statement said.
She died Sunday. Police said Scott admitted striking her. Scott does not have a listed attorney who could comment on the allegations against him.
The Bail Project has operated in St. Louis since January 2018. Bail Project Executive Director Robin Steinberg said the organization was “deeply saddened,” but bail wasn’t to blame for Johnson’s death.
“No one could have predicted this tragedy,” Steinberg said 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.”
Scott had previous convictions for drug crimes and assault dating to the 1990s.