'That’s balls!:' Bear-spray suspect belligerent at arraignment
The man accused of a brazen bear-spray attack on a protest group meeting last weekend had a lot to say during his arraignment Friday.
Bret Maness, who was arrested Thursday in Eagle River, got a low score on the state's risk assessment tool. The report recommended he be released on his own recognizance without having to pay bail.
But that score didn't take into account Maness’ federal criminal history, which includes time on weapons charges after a 2001 standoff during which Maness threatened to kill Alaska State Troopers before being shot and arrested in Eklutna. Maness just finished serving probation on those charges three years ago.
When prosecutors started to present that information, Maness got disruptive during what became a half-hour arraignment hearing in Anchorage Jail Court. His outbursts at various points included “That's balls!” “Who are they talking about, who are they talking about?” “That's not me” and “Hey partner, you might be sued for perjury, man."
The risk tool also doesn't consider his less recent but violent criminal history, including the 1997 fatal shooting of his black neighbor after witnesses say he'd spent the morning yelling racial slurs.
Maness claimed self-defense and was acquitted of murder in that case -- but as recently as January appears to have been posting prejudicial views on Facebook.
Those social-media posts, coupled with the Saturday bear-spraying of an Alaska Grassroots Alliance group training for non-violent protests at a church in Spenard – are reasons why the state urged the judge to go against the release recommendation and set bail.
A prosecutor told the judge that “the potential victims in this case are basically anyone who has a worldview that Mr. Maness does not agree with,” including black people and minorities.
Because of the serious and violent nature of the charges in this case, the judge had the discretion to override the risk assessment's release recommendation.
He set a $7,500 cash performance bond, which would have to be paid in full, and a $15,000 cash/corporate appearance bond.
If Maness is able to get out he'll be under supervision from the state’s Pretrial Enforcement Division, as well as house arrest with a GPS-equipped ankle monitor.
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