A St. Louis man is accused of murdering his wife hours after a liberal nonprofit charity group bailed him out of jail. Samuel Lee Scott, 54, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder after he killed his wife, 54-year-old Marcia Johnson.
Scott was jailed on April 5 on misdemeanor domestic assault for allegedly punching Johnson in the face in January. Johnson sustained injuries to her ear and cheekbone.
After hitting her, Scott told Johnson he might as well finish what he started since she was going to call the police anyway, according to Fox4 news.
He was served with a protection order four days later, which prohibited him from being within 300 feet of Johnson or her home.
Scott was bailed out of jail on Tuesday, April 9, by the St. Louis Bail Project, a liberal nonprofit group that assists inmates who are awaiting trial and cannot afford bail.
The Bail Project is part of a national organization that assists inmates with their bail.
A probable cause statement from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said that on April 9, the Bail Project paid Scott’s bail and he was released.
The probable cause statement said that Scott went to his wife’s home at 7:45 p.m. that same night, and brutally beat her. At 11 p.m., a friend took Johnson to a hospital after finding her bloody and battered.
Johnson “was unconscious, suffered a broken eye socket, several broken ribs, and was bruised from head to toe,” according to the statement.
Johnson died from her injuries on Sunday.
Police say Scott admitted beating his wife. He is being held without bail.
Scott has a criminal history that includes charges for drugs and assault dating back to the 1990s.
Bail Project Executive Director Robin Steinberg defended his group from public criticism. He said Scott would have been on the streets anyway if he was wealthy enough to afford his bail.
“No one could have predicted this tragedy,” he said in a statement. “It’s important to remember that had [Scott] been wealthy enough to afford his bail, or bonded out by a commercial bail agency, he would have been free pretrial as well. In a time like this, we must come together for this family and keep sight of the need to transform the larger systems that create poverty, racism and violence, including the pretrial bail system.”