Coast Family Angry Over Bond Set In Hit And Run Case

Wanda Rapier thought she would one day get to plan her daughter's wedding. Instead, she had to plan her daughter's funeral.

18-year old Kourtney was killed on May 5th. Police say Kourtney and a friend, Alicia Willard, left a party and ended up on Holly Circle in North Gulfport. Two men followed them and the girls decided to stop.

Wanda Rapier says "My daughter was pulled out of the car, and started arguing or whatever happened, I'm not sure. Alicia had taken off in the car they were in, came back around, and barreled right toward them".

Police say Alicia ran over Kourtney, then left while trying to escape. Kourtney died the next day. Alicia was arrested, then released on a $2,500 bond.

Wanda Rapier says "The bond was extremely too low. In other cases, the bond for the same offense was up to $100,000, and it should have been the same with her. She should not be walking the streets. She took a life, and it's got to mean more than that".

Rapier refers to a similar case in Gulfport last Tuesday. Police say 21 year old Roderick Flowers was arrested for hitting Maurice Whitlock with his car. But, Flowers' bond was set at $100,000.

Rapier's boyfriend, Steve Galle, says "How can he justify a $2,500 bond for the same crime, to somebody else getting $100,000? That's what they've done here, and it's wrong".

Justice Court Judge Melvin Ray set the bond in the Flowers case. He says there are number of criteria each judge must consider in each case. Judge Ray says "The first thing we look at is the nature of the crime, whether it's a crime of violence or it's a property crime. Secondly, we will look at the defendant's ties to the community, like do they live here, do they own property here? Thirdly, we look at the defendant's criminal history".

Justice Court Judge Dianne Ladner defended the bond she set in the Willard case. Lander says "I looked at the circumstances. The girl left the scene because she feared for her life, and she went to get help. She has no criminal history and she was not a flight risk. So, I think the $2,500 bond was justified."

But the Rapier family still thinks that's unfair. Wanda Rapier says "By the bail set so low, it gives out a message that it wasn't severe enough, and that's not justice".

One more note about this story. Judge Melvin Ray, who set the $100,000 bond in the Flowers case, says he will lower the bond if a motion is filed. But, he won't say by how much.

By: Trang Pham-Bui