Crime & Courts

Bail set for 16-year-old suspect in fatal Butler High School shooting

Family and friends gather in remembrance of Bobby McKeithen, a Butler High School sophomore who was shot and killed Monday in a hallway at the school.
Family and friends gather in remembrance of Bobby McKeithen, a Butler High School sophomore who was shot and killed Monday in a hallway at the school. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

A judge set bail for Jatwan Cuffie on Thursday, raising the likelihood that the 16-year-old defendant in the fatal hallway shooting at Butler High School will be released from jail.

He had been held without bail since his arrest in October.

According to Cuffie’s attorney, Michael Greene, and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office, the teenager’s bail was set Thursday at $100,000.

Assistant District Attorney Desmond McCallum asked Superior Court Judge Bob Bell to set the amount at $500,000.

Greene said he told Bell that amount was excessive.

“It doesn’t take $500,000 to guarantee the appearance of a 16-year-old kid who has only known Charlotte for his entire life,” Greene told the Observer after the hearing.

“I would have liked it lower but weighing the judge’s concerns for the community’s safety, and weighing the judge’s concerns over the seriousness of what happened, I don’t have any complaints.”

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Jatwan Cuffie, 16

If he is freed, Cuffie will be under 24-hour house arrest and would have to wear an ankle monitor, according to Thursday’s ruling. A $100,000 bail requires about a $10,000 payment.

Cuffie, a Butler High freshman, was initially charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 29 death of fellow student Bobby McKeithen, a sophomore.

In November, a grand jury indicted Cuffie on a reduced charge of second-degree murder.

A video surfaced on social media the week of the shooting that is believed to include Cuffie and McKeithen, amid an off-campus fight that may have led to the shooting, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time.

Greene said his client had more than dozens of family and friends in the courtroom for his hearing.

He said it’s unclear when Cauffie’s family will have the money to allow him to be freed.

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