Harrison Co. manslaughter trial on hold after defendant’s no-show

Published 4:31 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Charles Rhodes Chandler skipped out on his manslaughter trial Monday in Harrison County Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Jerry O. Terry issued a bench warrant for Chandler’s arrest, but authorities search for the man is complicated by the fact that the company that wrote his bond has gone out of business.

Chandler, 47, is accused of manslaughter in the death of Steven Lynn McCrobie in October 2005. McCrobie, identified by Gulfport police as a good Samaritan, jumped on the front of a truck to stop a suspect believed to have stolen money from a bar. The 52-year-old McCrobie fell off the truck three or four blocks later and the truck ran over him.

Chandler was released from jail on $75,000 bond about a month after his arrest. He is from Sanford, Fla., according to the Harrison County jail docket. He also is charged with robbery and failing to stop for police.

Theressia Lyons, a public defender, told Terry that she had spoken with Chandler once by phone but was unable to reach him in recent weeks.

“I don’t know where he is,” Lyons said. “It’s a real shame.”

1-A Professional Bonding, who wrote Chandler’s bond, has closed and a new company is doing business in its name. Owner Ben Bennight said he didn’t buy out the company that closed.

“It’s not my problem,” Bennight said, “but I’ll try to find out who the agent is that wrote the bond. It’s not my place to take on its bonds.”

A bonding company has 90 days to bring in a defendant who fails to appear. If it can’t, a judge can order the company that wrote the bond to pay the full amount to the court.