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Man killed in suspected burglary was out on bail

Originally ran here as:
"Man killed in suspected burglary was out on bail"
by DAVID HOLDEN, Times Staff Writer
Huntsville Times
August 19, 2001

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA -- The man who was shot and killed in a suspected burglary last week had seven felony charges pending for grand jury investigations.

So why was he not in jail at the time? Jonathan Lee Malmay, 21, had spent six months in the Madison County Jail before making bail in June. He had been out nine weeks when he was killed Thursday by Dr. Lewis McCurdy Jr., a local veterinarian.

That Malmay, of 174 George Bird Road in Owens Cross Roads, was not behind bars Thursday despite the felony charges is hardly unusual, according to police and Malmay's court-appointed attorney. That's how the system works.

''I've seen some burglary cases that go two years before there is an indictment by a grand jury,'' said Mickey Brantley, an investigator with the Huntsville Police Department.

Huntsville police considered Malmay a suspect in a number of burglaries. One, of a home in southeast Huntsville on New Year's Day, involved three suspects. A police dog tracked down two, one of them a juvenile, but the search continued for a man who escaped.

WAFF-TV Channel 48 later broadcast a re-enactment of the burglary in a Crime Stoppers segment. After seeing the broadcast, Malmay surrendered to Huntsville police Jan. 18.

''We ended up solving 80 burglary and theft cases after he turned himself in,'' said Brantley, coordinator of the Crime Stoppers program. ''We also recovered $21,000 in stolen merchandise.''

Malmay was transferred to the Madison County Jail and spent six months there before he raised the $32,000 for bail. He was released June 3.

When Malmay was arrested in January, Huntsville police immediately charged him with three felonies: breaking and entering an automobile, third-degree burglary and first-degree theft of property.

5 On Jan. 29 and 30, sheriff's investigators tacked on three more felony charges: third-degree burglary, first-degree theft and first-degree receiving stolen property.

A conviction on any of these charges would have sent Malmay to prison for 10 years.

In all six charges, Malmay waived his right to a hearing. The next step was a grand jury investigation to determine if he should stand trial on the charges.

On June 8, five days after he was released from jail, Huntsville police charged Malmay with another felony: third-degree burglary. It's unclear from court records when that burglary took place. Police were looking for Malmay on a pending warrant, said investigator Jerry Trew.

Robert B. Tuten, Malmay's court-appointed attorney, said the cases were proceeding about as well as could be expected.

''To have time elapse during an ongoing investigation is not necessarily a big thing,'' Tuten said. ''It's not unusual for the police or the DA to hold back the more recent cases so they can develop the older ones.''

Tuten said he had been talking with prosecutors about settling the pending felony charges against Malmay. Tuten said he had already settled some misdemeanor charges against Malmay with the city and the county.

Then came the events of last week.

The home of John and Elizabeth Koisch on Dug Hill Road was broken into Wednesday. Madison County sheriff's investigators said Malmay was a suspect in that burglary.

On Thursday morning, McCurdy confronted a man walking out the front door of the Koisches' home, he told sheriff's investigators. McCurdy, who lives nearby, is Elizabeth Koisch's father.

McCurdy said the man, later identified as Malmay, got in his car and tried to run over him. McCurdy fired at least one shot, fatally wounding Malmay.

Sheriff Joe Whisante said Thursday that tire marks in the grass suggested the driver had tried to leave at a high speed. Investigators also said they found a weapon in Malmay's car.

A grand jury will review the shooting to determine if criminal charges should be filed against McCurdy. That's standard practice in such situations.

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