Jones Remains Jailed, Judge Won’t Change Bail

OSWEGO, NY – The man accused of murdering his 11-year-old stepsister was back in Oswego County Court this morning for a bail hearing.

Alan Jones and his attorney, Sal Lanza, appeared before Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner Jr.

Alan Jones stands with his attorney, Sal Lanza, during a previous court appearance.
Alan Jones stands with his attorney, Sal Lanza, during a previous court appearance.

State police say Jones strangled Erin Maxwell in their town of Palermo home in August. Last month, Jones was arraigned on second-degree murder charges and remanded to Oswego County Jail.

Today, a judge ruled that Jones will remain in jail on $100,000 cash bail or $250,000 bond.

This morning’s hearing almost didn’t happen.

At the beginning of the session, Hafner asked ADA Mary Rain if she would remit so that he could hear the case. Rain declined.

As reported in Oswego County Today, a pending grievance that Hafner filed against Rain prohibits him from presiding over cases that she is prosecuting.

The attorneys on both sides can agree to waive his disqualification, however, any agreement is supposed to be made independently of the judge and without his input under the state‘s Code of Judicial Conduct.

“She says she will not allow this court to sit here to hear this bail hearing,” Hafner told defense attorney Salvatore Lanza.

“I am not going to get in the middle of this,” Lanza said.

Hafner said that DA Donald Dodd was in his courtroom all morning and informed him, prior to the appearance, that Rain would be in court.

“I don’t know how to schedule this,” Hafner said.

Lanza demanded something be done immediately.

“This violates my client’s Constitutional rights,” Lanza said.

He requested that his client be released on his own recognizance pending a resolution between the judge and the DA’s office.

Hafner questioned Rain about a letter he sent her at the beginning of the week, seeking a resolution of the matter between them.

“Am I going to get the courtesy of a response?” he asked. “You called the press… how come you can’t respond to my letter.”

Rain pointed out that the letter was marked personal and confidential and didn’t discuss details.

Hafner told Lanza that he has no say over who the DA’s office appoints to cases and said he could schedule the matter for another time.

“I’m here, I’m available,” Hafner said. “If you get a DA who can appear before me, I’ll (hear the case).”

“I want my client released,” Lanza answered.

He requested that Hafner place a call to Fifth District Administrative Judge James C. Tormey for a resolution.

Hafner returned after placing the call and said Oswego City Judge and Acting County Court Judge James Metcalf would hear the case.

Shortly before noon Judge Metcalf listened to what lawyers on both sides had to say.

The bail in this case “is reasonable,” he said.

(Nicole Reome contributed to this report)