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New bonds set for mother, boyfriend accused in Nevaeh Allen’s death

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 9:57 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 12:07 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - New bond amounts were set for both suspects involved in the killing of 2-year-old Nevaeh Allen on Monday, Oct. 4.

19th Judicial District Court Judge Christopher Dassau set bond for both Lanaya Cardwell, the girl’s mother, and Cardwell’s boyfriend, Phillip Gardner, at $375,000.

Both are facing second-degree murder charges for Nevaeh Allen’s death.

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Cardwell was appointed a private attorney just before Monday’s hearing, since the Public Defender’s Office is representing her boyfriend Gardner. This was done because the same office cannot represent the couple because of a potential conflict of interest.

Cardwell and Gardner told Judge Dassau they do not have the money to pay the current bond amount. If they do, they will be under house arrest with several conditions, including no contact with each other or any minors.

Gail Ray, the attorney assigned to Cardwell, said Dassau’s decision to set bail and not revoke it was the right call.

“The constitution of the United States says you’re entitled to bond except in cases where it’s a death penalty or first-degree murder,” Ray said.

However, Ray said she does plan to appeal Cardwell’s bond to get it reduced. Ray asked for a bond no higher than $100,000.

Ray said Cardwell is 8 months pregnant and should not be considered a flight risk.

“I understand that this is a very serious offense, but the law and the evidence is to the effect that cash bonds don’t really determine if somebody will come back to court or not, and that’s what the bond is supposed to be for,” Ray said.

Gail fears Cardwell and the newborn baby’s health could be in jeopardy if she gives birth in prison, given the current state of the pandemic.

”That was my reasoning behind requesting a lower bond. I understand the state’s position and I understand the judge has to make a call; I just happen to disagree with it,” Ray said.

Gail would not go into detail between what her and Cardwell have talked about, but she said her office plans to do what they can to get her home.

”We can’t just decide that this was a horrible offense so we’re going to lock you up before we even convict you and not let you out, not let you defend yourself from the streets as they say,” Ray said.

Assistant Public Defender Margaret Lagattuta said Gardner’s bond was ‘average’ and does not plan to submit an appeal.

Their next court appearance is set for Monday, Nov. 8.

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