Former Hero Officer Could Have $60M Bail Reduced

Philadelphia judge expected to decide whether Richard DeCoatsworth should have lower bail

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    NBC10.com
    Former Philadelphia Police Officer Richard DeCoatsworth, 27, is charged with dozens of crimes for assaulting and raping three women.

    The contents of former hero Philadelphia police officer and accused rapist Richard DeCoatsworth's cell phone could be the key to reducing his multimillion dollar bail.

    DeCoatsworth is being held in a city prison on $60 million bail for a May 18 incident where he allegedly forced two women to take drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint. Two weeks before, police say the former officer forced one of those women into prostitution. He’s also charged in a separate May 9th incident for allegedly assaulting his live-in girlfriend.

    L. George Parry, the 27-year-old’s attorney, has asked Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Charles Ehrlich to allow his team to download text messages and call logs from DeCoatsworth's phone.

    “We’ve got our forensic experts who are ready to download the contents of the experts immediately and I plan to present them to the court to reduce the bail," Parry told NBC10.com Monday.

    Parry said he will use the information stored on the cell phone to argue for a lower bail -- calling the uncharacteristically high amount "unfortunate" and the highest bail in Pennsylvania's history.

    "I just think it can’t hurt to have the actual text messages and I don’t really think either side in this case should argue against the text messages," he said.

    Parry said he was looking for messages sent and received between May 7 and May 17.

    In court Monday, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGlynn argued against the reduction in bail saying DeCoatsworth was a flight risk. He has family members in Florida and his car is also registered in the state, according to McGlynn.

    The prosecution also played a profanity-laden video from DeCoatsworth's cell phone and read several text messages to and from an unidentified woman.

    McGlynn told Judge Ehrlich "all of these in context, make for an incredibly dangerous person."

    Parry argued without all of the text messages an accurate portrayal of the conversations and relationships couldn't be shown.

    Judge Ehrlich did not make a decision, continuing the hearing until next Monday. Parry originally petitioned the court on June 10, but Judge Ehrlich had postponed his decision for Monday's hearing.

    DeCoatsworth was in court for the proceedings. Wearing a gray suit and beard, he did not speak.

    Parry previously said his client is being mistreated in prison – being held in isolation and not allowed to wear clothing during his first week.

    The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has convened an indicting grand jury to investigate the case. This type of grand jury not only operates in secrecy, but has the ability to bring additional charges against DeCoatsworth or other parties. A typical investigative grand jury simply makes recommendations on charges.

    “I hope the Commonwealth will use the grand jury to investigate what the two complainants have to say," Parry said.

    DeCoatsworth was shot in the face during a September 2007 traffic stop. After being shot, he chased the suspect for some time before collapsing. Police say he was able to radio enough information about the shooter for other officers to nab him.

    He was honored for his heroism in 2008 with a Top Cop award and sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama’s first address to congress at the U.S. Capitol.

    DeCoatsworth left the Philadelphia Police force on disability in December 2011.

    A friend of DeCoatsworth's, Manuel Maldonado, was charged with making terroristic threats and witness intimidation after allegedly threatening one of the women involved in the former officer's rape case. Police say Maldonado went to the woman's home, pointed a gun in her face and said she would be killed if she testified against DeCoatsworth.

    Maldonado is being held on $1 million bail.