Clovis man's killer could go free without posting bail under threat assessment

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Thursday, December 30, 2021
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A surprising suggestion could get an accused killer out of jail while she awaits trial for the alleged murder of a Clovis man.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A surprising suggestion could get an accused killer out of jail while she awaits trial for the alleged murder of a Clovis man.

Steve Rogers was shot and killed and his body was left in his Clovis home for days.

Mary Sanchez is charged with the murder, but a threat assessment from the probation department apparently leans towards letting her out of jail.

Sanchez is jailed with bail set at $1.5 million, but the 57-year-old from Bakersfield might not have to post it to get out.

She postponed entering a plea during her court appearance Wednesday and the judge revealed the results of an assessment of the risk she'd pose if released.

He said it recommended letting her out of jail on her own recognizance, without any bail.

But he postponed that decision, too.

"Quite frankly, I think that's going to take some pretty extensive arguments from both sides for an honor release on charges of this nature," said Judge Jon Skiles of the Fresno County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say they'll strongly object and legal analyst Tony Capozzi says it would be very unusual to let Sanchez go without posting bail.

"One: they live in another city," he said of the defendant. "It's a murder case, which is one of the most serious crimes that could possibly be committed here. I just can't imagine this person being released on own recognizance."

Clovis police say they found Steve Rogers' body a week before Christmas.

RELATED: Bakersfield woman accused of murdering Clovis 'gentle giant'

His daughter, Nicole, asked them to check on her dad because she hadn't heard from him in days.

She told Action News there were recent accusations of Sanchez committing theft and making threats.

Bakersfield police confirm they had an auto theft report against her in November.

Tehachapi police may have also taken reports, but they did not return messages Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Kern County haven't filed any criminal cases against Sanchez in about 20 years.

Capozzi says prosecutors will have to prove Sanchez was in Clovis at the time of Rogers' death, but any prior police reports will help prove the case.

"Those would be important," he said. "They would give some kind of a motive to the murder in this case."

Sanchez is due back in court in two weeks for arraignment and any argument about bail.

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