Mason County Prosecutor Looks Toward Change After Isaiah Gardenhire Case
"I'm not sure precisely what factors he considered in setting that bond."
People are questioning the low bond set for Isaiah Gardenhire in Mason County after he went on to be arrested for sex crimes and murder in Isabella County days later.
The Mason County Prosecutor charged Gardenhire with second degree criminal sexual conduct, but Gardenhire got out of jail for just $750, and police say he went on to commit two rapes and a murder in Isabella County.
“I hope that we learn more moving forward and we don’t take this case, and the circumstances, and the tragedies that happened Isabella County lightly at all,” said Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink.
Kreinbrink says there’s a lot that goes into setting a bond.
“In Michigan, we use a variety of different factors to consider bond,” she said. “The seriousness of the crime, criminal history, even the length of time that’s passed since the crime occurred.”
And as a prosecutor, she’s not sure why Gardenhire’s bond was set so low.
“We have to follow the law whether we like it a lot or not, whether we agree with it or not,” said Kreinbrink. “We have to follow the law as it’s written.”
She says Gardenhire was released last week on bond from a surety company.
“I think that this moment, this case provides an opportunity for officials in the court system, like myself, to be able to talk to the public and provide some education as to what bond is,” said Kreinbrink.
Kreinbrink thinks having prosecutors more involved with arraignment and bond setting proceedings would provide more evidence for the magistrate and judge to consider.
“At the very least, even though we’re not coming up with that bond amount, we are presenting arguments regarding the facts of the case, criminal history,” she said. “All factors the magistrate could, or potentially could not use, in making that bond determination.”
She wants people to use this case as a learning experience for everyone.
“I think this is, as opposed to using this case and the events surrounding it as a means to tear people down, better to see it as an opportunity for change and reform moving forward,” Kreinbrink said.