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Bond denied for man charged with domestic violence stalking
Decatur Daily - 10/29/2020
Oct. 29--A judge denied bond Wednesday on one of two felony charges for a Birmingham man who police allege stalked his former girlfriend in Decatur using a tracking device, harassed her and damaged her vehicle.
An attorney for Cedric D. Heard, 49, argued her client has a constitutional right to have a bond set and that he should be released so he can work and take care of his son. She suggested Heard be released with an ankle monitor.
Morgan County District Judge Charles Langham told attorney Tanita Cain that no bond would be set on a second-degree domestic violence stalking charge, a Class B felony.
"The green monster of jealousy is very concerning to me," Langham said during a bond reduction hearing. "Freedom is important. The freedom from fear is important, too."
Langham called the evidence of Heard putting a tracking device on the victim's vehicle "very scary."
"Her business is not his business," Langham told Cain.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defendant sat in the courtroom during the hearing.
Heard also is being held on a second-degree domestic violence burglary charge. Bail is set at $30,000 on that charge, according to court records.
While Decatur police Detective Sean Mukaddam said in an affidavit filed with the court that Heard represented an ongoing threat to former girlfriend Karen D. Elliott and her property, he expressed skepticism about her account that Heard started a fire at an event center she owns. -- Fire investigation
On Sept. 29, police investigated a building fire that destroyed The Step Above Event Center at 2006 Lowery St. S.W. The building was owned by Elliott.
On a surveillance video, a male is seen with two gas cans walking up to the building and setting it on fire.
"Elliott stated she was 100 percent sure the male was Heard walking up to the building. In addition, Elliott provided a signed written statement the male was Heard," Mukaddam wrote in the affidavit.
Mukaddam said in the affidavit he received a call from an acquaintance of Elliott's saying Elliott "is using the domestic issue with Heard to blame the fires on him so she can get the insurance money." The caller said Elliott wanted to use the money to build a bigger event center.
"In this incident it appeared Elliott was blaming Heard for the fire even though she knew it was not him," Mukaddam wrote. "Elliott was in a relationship for multiple years and knows what Heard looks like."
The event center fire was the most recent of three fires involving Elliott's properties in the Moulton Heights area that Decatur Fire Marshal Jason Jones said are suspicious and connected.
In an Oct. 12 affidavit, Mukaddam wrote that on Sept. 6, the Decatur Fire Department responded to an intentionally set building fire at 1926 Old Moulton Road S.W., the Kids-N-Us Daycare and Learning Center owned and operated by Elliott.
"After the fire was set, Elliott received a text message asking how her business was doing. The text came from a number that Elliott did not know," Mukaddam wrote.
On Sept. 10, Elliott, 55, reported a harassing communications incident and obtained a warrant for Heard's arrest on the misdemeanor charge.
Two days later, another intentionally set building fire at 2020 Lowery St. S.W. was reported and on surveillance videos, police saw a white Ford F-150 driving in the area, Mukaddam wrote. Elliott said the address is her home.
On Sept. 14, Circuit Judge Jennifer Howell issued a protection-from-abuse order for Elliott and against Heard.
On Sept. 16, Elliott's vehicle was spray-painted, causing enough damage to list the crime as first-degree criminal mischief, according to the affidavit.
"Witnesses saw a white F-150 driving in the area during the time of the incidents," Mukaddam wrote, and police learned that Heard was driving a white F-150.
Elliott completed a burglary report Sept. 17 saying Heard broke into a building she owned on Lowery Street Southwest and stole about a dozen Igloo coolers. Police obtained a warrant for Heard's arrest on a second-degree domestic violence burglary charge. -- Tracker on vehicle
On Oct. 6, Decatur police responded to a hotel about a suspicious person and concluded Heard had been at the hotel and placed a tracker on Elliott's vehicle, Mukaddam wrote.
Police located the tracker on the bottom of the vehicle and witnesses said they had seen a male lying next to the vehicle. Heard was identified in a video, according to the affidavit.
Mukaddam wrote that he moved Elliott's vehicle from a different location in Decatur to the police station about midnight Oct. 7.
"At approximately 2:30 a.m., Elliott received a text message saying, 'B--, I saw you driving your car to the Police Department.' The only person who knew Elliott's vehicle was moving would be Heard due to the tracker still being on it," Mukaddam wrote.
The next day Elliott and a friend returned to the hotel and the friend's vehicle was damaged by a substance that melted the paint and headlights, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also stated that Elliott had received threatening messages from Heard when she initially ended the relationship in August.
Mukaddam executed a search warrant for phone records from May 1 to Oct. 12 from Elliott's and Heard's phones.
Heard is a former deputy with the Perry County Sheriff's Office in Marion, the sheriff's office confirmed.
"I feel like I'm in a Lifetime movie," Elliott told The Daily three weeks ago. "Ever since I broke up with him in August, all hell has broken loose."
-- firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.
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