OMAHA, Nebraska — Prosecutors are criticizing a Douglas County district judge's decision to set bail for a man charged with murder after a different judge had twice refused to do so.
Judge Gary Randall set bail Friday at $50,000 cash for Carl Heng, who is charged with second-degree murder and a weapons count for the Aug. 24 shooting death of 25-year-old Thomas Lane.
Heng has insisted he was acting in self-defense and protecting a co-worker — Lane's girlfriend. Heng's attorney said Heng went to Lane's apartment at the request of Lane's girlfriend, who said she feared for her safety.
But prosecutors say the evidence shows Lane was unarmed and not posing a threat when he was shot as he unlocked an exterior door to his apartment building.
Heng is free after his family posted his bail late Friday, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1Q8SYRQ ).
Heng was twice denied bail by Douglas County Judge Thomas Harmon, who cited Nebraska law that says judges don't have to set bail in murder or rape cases.
Heng's attorney, Stu Dornan, sued last week, asking a different judge to grant bail. Dornan argued that Heng was a graduate of Creighton Prep, attended college and had worked as a fraud investigator at First National Bank for four years.
In granting bail, Randall said "the proof is not evident and the presumption is not great with respect to the charge," making bail a reasonable request.
"I just think it's a bad precedent," Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine told the newspaper. "The concern is that if people don't get the (bail) they want from a county court judge, they can try to get a district judge to change it before the case is even bound over (to district court)."
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com