Alleged drunk driver facing murder charge ordered held without bond

The man police say is responsible for killing 58-year-old Lionel Stacey Bruce was ordered held without bond Tuesday afternoon.

According to police, Michael Fenderson, 57, was driving down 1200 block of Eastern Ave., NE Saturday night when he struck Bruce, who was standing in the street behind a car. The impact created a chain reaction, where Fenderson’s car struck Bruce and the car he was standing behind, and a second parked car.

Bruce was brought to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead the following day.

Police arrested Fenderson on the scene and formally charged him Sunday with driving while under the influence. Later, Fenderson was also charged with second-degree murder and possession of an open container.

With his mother and father and other family in attendance, Fenderson stood before Judge Sean Staples Tuesday as his lawyer made the case for his release.

Defense attorney Jacqueline Cadman spoke of Fenderson’s limited criminal history, his ties to the community and his familial ties as a father of five and grandfather of seven.

Cadman called the upgraded charge second-degree murder “totally inappropriate” and suggested her client abstain from alcohol and undergo drug tests. Cadman said her client was not a flight risk as he did not leave the crime scene.

The prosecution said Fenderson’s presence at the crime scene was not sufficient evidence in that regard because police responded immediately to the scene. The prosecuting attorney also noted Fenderson had an open bottle of tequila in his car and upon police arrival threw a red solo cup out of the window.

Judge Staples ruled in favor of the prosecution and ordered Fenderson held without bond on the basis that “no conditions would guarantee the safety of the community.”

Fenderson is expected in court April 5 for a preliminary hearing.


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