DALLAS –– A state district judge on Wednesday raised the bond for the man accused of shooting an 8-year-old boy at point blank range.
In order for Brian Cloninger to bond out of jail, he must pay either $1 million in cash or $5 million bond using a bail bondsman, meaning he’ll be on the hook for $500,000 of that amount. On Oct. 11, the judge ruled that Cloninger must pay $200,000 to bond out of jail.
He was prepared to post that amount on Wednesday, which prompted the hearing. Prosecutors argued to State District Judge Larry Mitchell that the family was not truthful in previous testimony about their efforts to acquire the money to bond him out. That argument, the prosecution said, led to the reduction in bond on Oct. 11.
"They basically manipulated the system and put themselves in a position to have the judge rule a certain way. A couple of days later, they had the bond money,” said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.
Cloninger, 46, is accused of shooting 8-year-old Donald Maiden, Jr. as the boy played tag in his northeast Dallas apartment complex. Maiden is recovering at a Dallas rehabilitation facility. He lost portions of his jaw.
A witness told police that he heard the gunshot and spoke to Cloninger afterward. In a daze, the suspect allegedly told the witness that he shot the boy.
On Oct. 11, the judge reduced Cloninger’s bond from $2.2 million to $1 million and required him to post at least $200,000 to bond out. After lowering it, Mitchell effectively raised it in what he described as a preliminary judgment until he hears the defense's side during a hearing on Monday.
During testimony, prosecutors played excerpts from jailhouse phone conversations that Cloninger had with members of his family, including his wife. She previously testified that she would have a difficult time coming up with enough money to bail her husband out if his bond remained $2.2 million.
She lobbied the judge to drop it to $25,000.
Prosecutors also say she testified that no other family members were working to raise bail money; the prosecution argued that the phone conversations put that testimony into question.
"It's unfortunate that this happened, but things like this happen all of the time when you're dealing with defendants and folks who want to play the system," Watkins said.