FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney is responding to questions over why the man accused in a downtown Appleton shooting Wednesday night that killed a firefighter received a significant reduction in bond after an arrest following a traffic stop several weeks ago.
Ruben Houston. Photo: Fond du Lac County Jail
Court documents show Ruben Houston was released on May 4 from the Fond du Lac County jail after posting a $500 cash bond.
He was facing up to 15 years behind bars on a felony drug possession charge.
While Houston doesn't have a criminal history, according to Toney, he did have a run-in with law enforcement April 21.
"There was a traffic stop for, I think, it was a registration violation and found a little over two grams of substance that was an inconclusive test for heroin but was believed to be counterfeit substance of that, and [Houston] was charged with a counterfeit substance felony," said Toney.
A receipt obtained by Action 2 News shows a bond payment of $500, which was significantly less, than the $5,000 bond set by a judge during Houston's initial court appearance April 24 at the request of the district attorney's office.
"The State had asked that it remain at $5,000, but the court did a balancing of the factors, and I wasn't at the hearing, and I haven't seen the transcript, but I know this judge generally looks at people's prior history, their ties to area, things of that nature," Toney added.
The bond reduction came during a hearing May 3 before Fond du Lac County Judge Gary Sharpe. The very next day, Houston posted the $500.
Action 2 News reached out to Judge Sharpe's office for comment but we have not heard back.
"Certainly if he was in custody, obviously it wouldn't have happened," Toney said, referring to Wednesday's fatal shooting, "but for anyone to be able to project that is impossible to know and just tragic circumstances all around. Certainly we wish he was still in custody, and that's really easy to say in hindsight without a doubt."