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Angelo Smith, person of interest in Bianca Tanner case, released from jail

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/02/21/41/UilCu.Em.138.jpeg|209
    Davie Hinshaw - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com
    Angelo Grayson Smith Jr., the boyfriend of missing teacher Bianca Tanner and the last one to see her before she disappeared, is escorted from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police headquarters to a waiting police car that took him to jail just before noon Tuesday, July 01, 2014. He was released Wednesday after he posted $20,000 bond.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/02/21/41/cykrx.Em.138.jpeg|200
    - CMPD
    Bianca Richardson Tanner

A judge reduced Angelo Grayson Smith Jr.’s bond on Wednesday, after his attorney argued that officials had given him an excessive bail because police believe he may have had something to do with Bianca Tanner’s disappearance or death.

Smith, 30, had been jailed on $100,000 bond. He was released around 9 p.m. Wednesday after posting a $20,000 bond.

Smith, Tanner’s girlfriend and the last person to see the schoolteacher before she disappeared, is a person of interest in the homicide case, according to police, but not an official suspect. Police have charged him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, saying he left Tanner’s 3-year-old son alone hours after she reportedly went missing.

His attorney, Kenneth Snow, argued during Wednesday’s hearing that people charged with similar misdemeanors are typically given a bond between $100 and $2,500.

“This gentleman is not charged with anything else other than a misdemeanor,” Snow said. “The court should do what is fair and just ... It’s not fair and just for a $100,000 bond to be set for a man that has ... no criminal record.”

Judge Donald Cureton ordered that Smith be placed on 24-hour house arrest and electronically monitored by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police when he is released.

Tanner’s case has made national headlines since she disappeared on June 7.

Tanner, 31, had moved to Charlotte from Greensboro in May, looking to be in a bigger city. She had a lead on a job with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Project LIFT, which seeks to improve educational opportunities for students at West Charlotte High and its eight feeder schools.

Smith told police that Tanner walked out of their apartment just north of uptown after an argument on June 7. Two days later, police searched their apartment for evidence that Tanner had been assaulted by Smith.

Police obtained the search warrant after interviewing Tanner’s 3-year-old son. The boy told investigators Smith had struck Tanner with a belt and “hurt Mommy in the face.”

“Mommy got a spanking with the belt,” the search warrant quotes the child as saying. “Angelo kicked Mommy’s butt and made her cry. … Angelo is mean to Mommy.”

On June 16, Smith went to stay with relatives in Chicago after receiving death threats, his attorney said.

Four days later, police charged him with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and issued a warrant for his arrest. U.S. Marshals arrested him on Thursday and he was returned to Charlotte on Tuesday and jailed on $100,000 bond.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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