(Memphis) Family of shoppers at the Wolfchase Mall during a bold smash and grab at a jewelry store are shocked to hear one of the suspects is no longer behind bars.
Maurice Williams was released of his own recognizance by Judge Mark Ward, who did not hear evidence before making a decision.
That has upset many who had family inside the mall when the robbery went down, like Tarasha Mackey. She said her aunt is still shaken after being held inside Wolfchase mall as five people smashed a case in the Reeds jewelry store. "She really had a horrifying experience. She was just tore up and lost with everything going on with it."
Now, Mackey said she is shocked one of the men police believe to be responsible is out on the streets. "Your family member can't go. They're innocent. They're being stressed. They're being put in this predicament, and then you're going to release him on his own recognizance... On his own word basically? No! It's not a happy setting for any of us."
The prosecutor's office said Williams has ties to the community, and they did not dispute the judge's decision.
It is a decision that is even surprising some defense attorneys, like Eric Mogy. "While it may sound shocking, there are a lot of factors that go into that determination other than what you're currently charged with," Mogy noted.
While Williams is out of jail now, the case against him is far from over. He will be back in court again on May 20.
Mackey said she hopes if he's guilty, he will be held accountable. "He can come in and basically terrify our town and leave when he gets ready, and we're going to let him out on his own recognizance. I think it's awful!"
WREG reached out to both Judge Ward and William's attorney Terrell Tooten for comment, but neither returned calls.
The prosecutor's office did not say what ties Williams has in Shelby County. His only listed address is in California.