A man who was accused of killing East Palo Alto activist David Lewis in 2010 was ordered back into custody today, three weeks after a San Mateo County Superior Court judge released him on his own recognizance. Judge Craig Parsons said this morning that if he had been given accurate information by the defense about the defendant’s time served on weapons charges to which he pleaded no contest, he would not have released 60-year-old Gregory Elarms at a Feb. 5 hearing.
Time served is a combination of actual days in jail, plus statutory credits for good behavior or work time, Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti said. “We had been adamant all along that he had not had enough credit,” Guidotti said. Guidotti said that such a miscalculation is “not very typical.” Elarms was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody this morning, briefly looking back at his mother before being led out of the courtroom.
The weapons charges stem from incidents in February 2011, when Elarms was in custody awaiting trial for the fatal shooting of Lewis in the Hillsdale Shopping Center parking lot the previous June. He was allegedly caught hiding a sharpened toothbrush, a sharpened “spork” and two pencils tied together in his cell, according to the district attorney’s office.
This January — two months after Judge Stephen Hall dismissed the murder charges against him based on a confession Elarms made to investigators that Hall ruled was in violation of his Miranda rights — Elarms pleaded no contest to three felony counts of possessing weapons in jail. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has said his office is appealing the ruling dismissing the murder charges, a process that could take 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, Elarms is due back in court on March 5 for a hearing on a motion to withdraw his pleas of no contest to the weapons offenses, Guidotti said.
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