The Police officer from East Pittsburgh, Michael Rosfeld, who shot and killed a 17-year-old boy, is free on unsecured bond — something that criminal defense attorneys say is almost unheard of for a homicide suspect.
Firstly, Senior District Judge Regis Welsh set a $250,000 unsecured bond for the officer, who was arrested Wednesday and charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose. The officer did not have to put up any money for his release.
“I make my decision on bond based on circumstances, based on the prior record, and based on the possibility or probability that a defendant might flee,” Welsh said. “In this case, there was no question in my mind: The defendant was not a flight risk.” “The guy turned himself in, showed up for court this morning with a lawyer. It’s obvious he’s going to answer these charges,” he added.
Asked if he had ever issued an unsecured bond in a homicide case before, Welsh said he could not recall doing so in his 43 years as a judge. “I’m not going to defend myself to anyone except to God and the presiding judge,” Welsh said. “I’m very comfortable with what I did. If either side doesn’t like it, they know what to do.”
Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen Zappala, said that the DA’s office “vigorously argued against bond” for Rosfeld. “The Pennsylvania Constitution says that if you are charged with a crime where the maximum sentence is life in prison, you are not entitled to bond,” he said. “We do think it was an improper ruling by the magistrate. We are not going to contest it currently. We do plan on dealing with it soon.”
Later in the day, Allegheny County President Judge Jeffrey Manning modified the conditions of Rosfeld’s bond by adding an order for electronic home monitoring.
According to Manko, the order came after the DA’s office raised concerns about “a jurisdictional issue with the way that bond was set” by Welsh,
Zappala’s spokesman said that the district attorney would not appeal the bond decision, according to the electronic monitoring order.