During a bond hearing earlier this year, days after Stanley Vernon Majors had been released from jail after allegedly running over a neighbor with his car, the prosecutor fighting to keep Majors behind bars found himself in a predicament.
Majors, charged last year with assault and battery with a deadly weapon, had just left jail after posting a “completely inadequate” $30,000 bond,” Assistant District Attorney Brett Mize told District Judge Bill LaFortune during the bond hearing.
The Frontier obtained a transcript of the May 25 hearing during which Majors’ bond was discussed.
Mize was worried that Majors, who lived next door to his alleged victim and had a long history of alleged racially-charged harassment toward the Jabara family, would return home and immediately return to his old tricks. Realizing LaFortune was determined to grant Majors bail, Mize asked the judge to raise it to $300,000 and require Majors wear an ankle monitor.
LaFortune gave the prosecutor two options: leave the bail at $30,000 with a new condition that Majors move from his home into an apartment far away from the family he allegedly tormented or have his bail upped to $60,000.
Court records appear to show Mize and Marvin Lizama, Majors’ attorney, settled on the latter. Less than three months later, Khalid Jabara was dead, shot to death last Friday on his front porch, and Majors was arrested for the alleged murder.
That revelation in the highly publicized case came Thursday after a transcript of the May 25 bond hearing was reviewed by The Frontier.
Majors allegedly terrorized his Lebanese neighbors for years, routinely spitting racial epithets at them. Prior to Khalid Jabara’s shooting Friday, the bad blood culminated last September when an allegedly drunken Majors reportedly ran over Khalid’s mother, Haifa, who was on an evening walk.
The 65-year-old woman, who runs a successful catering business, was found by a passerby lying in a pool of blood, asking for her husband. Her shoes had been knocked off of her body and were found by police lying 44 feet away, a fact that led investigators to determine Majors hit the woman at full speed.
“When someone is struck at a decent rate of speed, one of the first things that actually flies from the body are the shoes,” Officer Stephen Theimer testified at a previous hearing on that incident. “That’s just from the force of the strike.”
Another officer, who had responded to dozens of disputes between the Jabaras and Majors, testified in that hearing that Majors “had a dislike” for his neighbors, noting he’d once responded to three calls in one day at the two residences.
The suggestion that Majors move from his home at 9332 S. 85th E. Ave. was initially made by Majors himself, the transcript shows. It was made as attorneys were bartering with LaFortune over the prospect of equipping Majors with an ankle monitor.
LaFortune said during the hearing he “routinely” ordered ankle monitors, but he was concerned it would have little effect since Majors lived just a few feet away from the Jabaras.
“I just don’t think it’s going to have the effect it normally would,” the judge said.
LaFortune then addressed Majors directly.
“This is a very precarious situation for the court and for the parties and for yourself and for the victim’s — the alleged victim’s — family,” he told Majors.
“Well I could move to another apartment,” Majors said.
“Well that might be a great idea,” LaFortune responded.
LaFortune told The Frontier on Monday that ethics rules would not allow him to speak about the case, since the felony the bond hearing was attached to was still pending in Tulsa County District Court.
Family members have criticized the way Majors’ case was handled, saying it was not treated with the seriousness it deserved. However, on the day of the bond hearing, LaFortune appeared very concerned with both Majors’ history and his proximity to the Jabaras.
LaFortune said during the hearing that when he set the original $30,000 bail, just days before this bond hearing, he had not been aware of much of Majors’ prior alleged incidents with the family.
Haifa Jabara had a protective order against him, which had already been violated once prior to the alleged assault. Police records show officers responding to various disputes between the two sides dozens of times in the last few years.
“I mean it’s not a good history for you in terms of my perception, and I’m very concerned with you out of custody and living next door to the victim and the victim’s family, of what might happen on any given day given this history,” LaFortune told Majors.
But still, LaFortune seemed perfectly willing to leave the bond at $30,000, offering Mize a take-it-or-leave-it scenario at the end of the hearing, noting he wanted to hurry because he had a jury waiting for a trial that was set to begin.
“I can put (Majors moving to an apartment) as a condition if we want to get it wrapped up,” LaFortune told the attorneys. “I don’t want to spend all day on this because I’ve got a jury waiting.”
Mize, according to the transcript, initially seemed amenable to the $30,000 bail, saying he would “be agreeable to going back to the original bond” if Majors would be willing to move into a different location.
But he quickly backtracked and again asked LaFortune for the $60,000 bail.
“Judge, I think I negotiated against myself there,” he told LaFortune. “I would rather leave it at 60 (thousand) and put the effort on them to prove they’re making steps to move away.”
Majors posted the increased bond hours after the hearing ended and was released from custody until he was arrested last Friday for allegedly killing Khalid Jabara.
Lizama could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, who said he expects to get the criminal case against Majors from Tulsa Police by the end of Friday, told The Frontier earlier this week that “the system failed” the Jabara family by letting Majors out of jail unchecked.
He said Thursday that it appeared in the bond hearing that prosecutors first argued for Majors to be held without bond, then sought a $300,000 bail. Kunzweiler said prosecutors “wanted an ankle monitor and we wanted him out of the house.”
“To which we got neither,” he said.
“What it sounds like to me, from the transcript, is that we wanted a higher bond to be set, but it became clear that (District Judge Bill LaFortune) was not going to go above $60,000, so that’s what we agreed to,” Kunzweiler said. He noted that what prosecutors typically do at that point is accept the judge’s high range and then negotiate from there.
The killing has generated heavy interest nationally, and even internationally, with outlets ranging from the BBC to Aljazeera covering Jabara’s death.
Jabara’s funeral is set for Thursday evening. Fundraisers have raised more than $15,000 to help the family with expenses.