Ohio judge tries to justify earlier release of woman charged with fatally stabbing 3-yr-old boy

An Ohio judge is facing scrutiny for releasing a black criminal suspect who then went on to allegedly murder a 3-year-old white boy.

On May 29th, suspect Bionca Ellis, 32, was arrested for a parole violation. When she appeared in court, a magistrate judge recommended she be held for a mental health evaluation because of her unresponsive behavior, but another judge — Judge Brian Hagan — evidently disagreed and released her back into the community on May 31st.

Three days later on June 3rd, Ellis stabbed 3-year-old Julian Wood to death outside a grocery store in Cleveland. She later smiled about the murder while being charged in court.

Looking back, critics are now furious with Hagan and demanding answers for why he released Ellis back onto the streets.

When asked by local station Fox 8 News as to why he hadn’t sought a mental health evaluation for Ellis, he claimed the organization responsible for the evaluations had nobody available and that the suspect would have therefore been forced to sit in jail for days on a “minor” crime.

“There wasn’t any red flags shooting up that pole,” he said. “There wasn’t any indications here. No sign of mental distress. No sign of previous, violent acts.”

Fact-check: FALSE.

“In January, she was arrested in Bakersfield, California. She is facing three counts of ‘battery on person’ for allegedly assaulting three people there,” according to Fox 8 News.

“In February, she told Cleveland police she wanted to confess to a murder. She told Cleveland officers that she killed a woman in California. Bakersfield police have told us they determined the confession was not credible, saying the information was not consistent with any unsolved cases being investigated,” Fox 8 News notes.

But it gets worse.

When asked if he’d do anything different this time around given Wood’s tragic death, Judge Hagan said no.

“Nothing,” he maintained. “I’m confident in the way this court handled the matter. We did it by the letter of the law. There was nothing there to send up the alarms.”


In light of this, critics say the judge needs to be axed immediately, if not also charged and prosecuted:

Even Ellis’ mother has lodged complaints.

“Yolanda Eggleton, mother of Bionca Ellis, said she believes the court system and the mental health system failed her daughter and the family of Julian,” Fox 8 News notes.

“Eggleton said her daughter has had mental health issues for years and recently quit taking her medication. She said her daughter should have been held for a mental health evaluation when she was arrested on a probation violation and taken to Rocky River Municipal Court at the end of May,” according to Fox 8 News.

She isn’t wrong.

She suspects her daughter may have been hallucinating when she murdered Woods.

“I think she was hallucinating,” Eggleton said. “Bionca has been on several medications that did not work out for her. The hallucinations and the voices just got the best of her.”

Eggleton was also remorseful over Woods’ death.

“My condolences to this family,” she said. “When I found out I was devastated. I’m devastated. No child should ever have to lose their life. She was around my grandkids. It could’ve been one of my grandkids.”


Vivek Saxena


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