William Cross’ attorney did not claim his client was innocent.
In a bond hearing Tuesday for the man accused of killing Carver High School baseball coach David Pollard while fleeing police in a stolen car on April 18, 2016, attorney William Kendrick argued only that Cross should not have to wait in jail until his case is resolved.
He faces a range of charges that include felony murder for killing Pollard while committing multiple felonies including car theft. He had been held without bond on the murder charge, but he had not been indicted. Under Georgia law, a suspect is entitled to a bond if he is not indicted within 90 days of his arrest.
Kendrick said Cross has been incarcerated for 18 months.
Cross, a former Carver student who was 19 when he crashed into Pollard’s silver Chevrolet at the intersection of Buena Vista Road and Andrews Road, had no prior criminal record, and he remains heartbroken that his mistake caused Pollard’s death, Kendrick told Judge Arthur Smith III.
“He broke down,” Kendrick said, describing his client’s remorse during a meeting at the Muscogee County Jail. Cross knew Pollard from Carver, he said. “It’s a shock for him.”
The attorney asked Smith to set Cross’ bonds so they totaled $50,000 to $100,000. He argued Cross is not likely to flee Columbus if released from jail.
Prosecutor Wesley Lambertus countered that Cross twice escaped from police the day Pollard died – first fleeing from officers in a stolen car, then running away after he crashed into Pollard’s car at an estimated 60 mph.
Now he’s facing life in prison, if convicted, and could be expected to try to get away again if he gets out of jail, “based on the fact that he’s already tried to do that,” Lambertus said.
He asked Smith to set a bond of $300,000 on the felony murder charge, and leave Cross’ other bonds as they are.
Smith accepted the prosecutor’s recommendation. He also set conditions on Cross’ possible release, ordering that he not leave Columbus, observe a dusk-to-dawn curfew, wear a tracking monitor, have no contact with Pollard’s family and break no more laws.
Asked when the case might be indicted, Lambertus said he expected investigators to have it ready for his review in a few days, when he would determine whether it was sufficient to present to a grand jury.
During Cross’ preliminary hearing last year in Columbus Recorder’s Court, Officer Garrett Williams said a woman saw a man later identified as Cross enter her neighbor’s silver 2007 Audi in the 1800 block of Somerset Avenue. She told her husband, and together they followed the suspect to South Lumpkin Road, where the woman photographed the man and the vehicle, and the couple called police.
Then they followed him to Buena Vista Road, where Officer W. Hayward spotted the stolen Audi and tried to stop it. Cross fled west at high speed, police said.
Hayward stopped at David Circle when he decided the road was too congested to continue the pursuit safely.
Police said Cross ran a red light before he hit Pollard’s sedan, which then crashed into a Chevy Impala. Cross abandoned the Audi and ran south on Andrews Road, said Sgt. Fred Carnes.
He was arrested May 2, 2016, at the Value Place hotel, 1801 Victory Drive.
Besides the felony murder charge for which Smith set the $300,000 bond, Cross faces 13 traffic charges plus auto theft, for which his bonds total $136,850.