Suspect in killings of Muslim men could be released ahead of trial

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There is a chance Muhammad Syed, the suspect charged with murdering two local Muslim men, could be allowed to walk free until his trial.

It’s because of the controversial Arnold tool assessment. That’s the state’s public safety assessment that judges use to determine a suspect’s risk to the community. According to that tool’s calculation, Syed should be released while he awaits trial.

“Mr. Syed, the state filed a motion for pretrial detention, so I’m going to transfer this case to district court,” Judge Renee Torres told Syed Wednesday, through a translator.

At this time, Syed is behind bars. Prosecutors have filed to hold him in jail until trial, but ultimately, Syed’s fate sits with a judge.

The Arnold tool assessment takes two issues into consideration – Syed’s criminal history and whether he has failed to appear in court before.

While he has no prior convictions, he did fail to appear before a judge once before.

Police have arrested Syed three times in the past five years for domestic violence and assault. However, all previous charges against Syed were ultimately dropped because the alleged victims chose not to pursue charges or cooperate with prosecutors.

Although he’s charged with two murders, and considered a suspect in two others, Syed doesn’t appear dangerous enough by the Arnold tool’s standards.

The Arnold tool’s recommendation, however, is not set in stone. A judge can use it to help make a decision – judges can agree with it or go against it. Syed’s pretrial detention hearing is scheduled for Monday.