Bond Reduced for Man Accused of Shooting Boy in Face

Reduced from $2.2M to $1M

By Greg Janda
|  Friday, Oct 11, 2013  |  Updated 6:20 PM CDT
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Brian Cloninger, the Dallas man accused of shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face, had his bond reduced from more than $2 million to $1 million.

Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News

Brian Cloninger, the Dallas man accused of shooting an 8-year-old boy in the face, had his bond reduced from more than $2 million to $1 million.

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A judge has reduced bond for the man accused of shooting an 8-year-old Dallas boy in the face from $2.2 million to $1 million after attorneys argued the higher amount was "unconstitutionally high."

D.J. Maiden was shot in the jaw Sept. 3 at his apartment complex a few days after turning 8 years old.

During Friday's hearing, Brian Cloninger's wife testified that she couldn't afford the $2.2 million bond but could put up $25,000 cash. She said they live in a home a couple miles from the apartment where the shooting happened.

Prosecutors say Cloninger was drinking the night of the shooting, which is a violation of his probation on a driving while intoxicated charge.

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Police say Cloninger randomly fired two shots at the boy, one of which hit Maiden in the jaw. A witness told investigators that Cloninger confessed saying, "I did that."

He was arrested at the scene shortly after the shooting

Maiden's family, backed by community activists, wants Cloninger to be charged with attempted murder, not just felony injury to a child. They say Maiden could have died out in the parking lot of his complex after the shooting.

"We don't want him to be on the streets," said Maiden's grandmother, Sharon Locklin. "No matter what charges is, we want him to stay in."

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has said that the charge Cloninger faces is a first-degree felony that has a tougher sentence -- five to 99 years or life in prison -- than an attempted murder charge, which is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

"The prosecutors go for the appropriate punishment to keep a dangerous criminal off the streets," the DA's office told NBC 5 earlier this month. "We go for stiffer punishment, especially when a kid is involved."

Police have revealed no motive in the shooting, which has caused some activists to question the investigation.

Human rights activist Roy Williams said he believes the Dallas Police Department didn't thoroughly investigate the motive for the shooting, an accusation Chief David Brown adamantly denies. Williams said he's in the process of reaching out to the U.S. Department of Justice ask for an independent review.

"Pursue the Justice Department to come in and have an outside investigation to see if this may have been a hate crime," he said. "We know it was racially motivated; no question about that. It was a white man and a black boy."

Maiden spent five weeks in a Dallas hospital after being shot in the face but was able to return home Thursday.

Witnesses said Maiden was playing outside of his family's apartment in Dallas when he was shot by man standing nearby.

Maiden was said to be running back toward his apartment when the bullet hit him in the face.

Maiden has had a number of surgeries to repair the damage. In a recent interview with NBC 5, Locklin said her grandson may never regain feeling in his jaw.

"He don't want the kids to look at his face," she said. "He says, 'I look like a monster, Granny.' I'm like, 'No, you don't.'"

Family members said in a recent interview that more surgeries are in the boy's future.

The family has set up an account at 1st Convenience Bank in hopes of getting donations to help with medical expenses. Contributions can be sent to:

1st Convenience Bank
Account of Sharon Locklin for Donald Maiden Jr.
9140 Forest Lane
Dallas, TX 75243
214-221-4104

NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Frank Heinz contributed to this report.

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