Low Bail Again Turns Deadly

Dan O’Donnell’s exclusive report on how a Milwaukee County Judge’s bail reduction led to a night of terror highlights a major public safety issue

July 22, 2022
Perspective by Dan O’Donnell

In the days following the Waukesha Parade massacre last November, grief melded with anger and outrage over the low bail that freed the alleged killer.  Just days before the attack, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Cedric Cornwall set bail at just $1,000 for Darrell Brooks, who was charged with running over his estranged girlfriend in the same SUV he used to kill six people and injured more than 50 others once he posted bail.

Both Cornwall and Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Michelle Grasso, who requested that bail, faced a firestorm of criticism and days of demands for “accountability.”  And then?  Nothing.  By Thanksgiving weekend, the story had largely disappeared from the national news narrative.  By Christmas, even local news gave only sporadic updates on Brooks’ various court appearances.

And Milwaukee County went right back to issuing dangerously low bail.  And again it is having deadly consequences.

A 61-year-old man is now charged with killing two people in a night of terror earlier this month made possible by Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Milton Childs, who inexplicably reduced his bail from $10,000 to $1,000.

The suspect, Allen Dale Grant, was charged March 4th with fleeing or eluding an officer and being a felon in possession of a firearm after allegedly leading Milwaukee Police on a high-speed chase that nearly struck several bystanders.  When arrested, officers found a loaded handgun and open intoxicants in Grant’s car.

Grant, who has a criminal record dating back to the late 1970s, was convicted of second-offense drunk driving less than three years ago and, given his record and his efforts to escape arrest, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Katharine Kucharski set bail at $10,000 during Grant’s initial appearance on March 5th.

On March 21st, however, Judge Childs amended Grant’s bail to just $1,000 and then kept it at $1,000 even though pretrial violation reports were registered for Grant on both March 31st and April 1st.  On April 7th, Grant posted his $1,000 bail and left custody.

According to a criminal complaint, the night of July 8th, Grant got into an argument with his downstairs neighbor in the hallway of the duplex they shared.  After shoving the victim to the ground, Grant allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot the man multiple times, leaving him to die on the hallway floor.

From there, investigators say, Grant drove to the home he shared with an apparent ex-girlfriend and killed her with a single shot to the forehead.  Four hours later, he was arrested after crashing his car into a tree and flipping upside down in what appears to be another reckless, possibly intoxicated driving incident.

He is now charged with two counts each of first-degree intentional homicide, bail jumping, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Since it is highly unlikely that Grant would have been able to post $10,000 bail, it is also entirely likely that the man and woman he killed would still be alive had Judge Childs not reduced that bail to a dangerously low $1,000.

As in the Waukesha Parade massacre, those tasked with protecting the public have instead inflicted unspeakable harm upon it.  So far, none of those responsible for freeing Darrel Brooks have faced any consequences for it, and it is highly unlikely that Judge Childs will for freeing Allen Dale Grant.

It is well past time for that to change.