Manny Stax Granted Bail in Juliet Supperclub Murder
By Mathew Katz and Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — In an unusual twist, a club promoter accused of fatally stabbing another patron outside a Chelsea nightclub in September has been granted bail, according to court records.
Overturning a lower court judge's ruling, Appellate Court Judge David Saxe set bail for murder suspect Manuel Pinero, 41, at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond on Dec. 16.
The District Attorney's office still has a chance to appeal the judge's ruling by Jan. 11.
The bail was set after Pinero's legal team was able to call into question the district attorney's arguments that Pinero's financial assets made him a flight risk, sources said.
Authorities have charged Pinero, also known by his club promoter nickname "Manny Stax," with second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Adames, 23, outside the Juliet Supperclub in September. Adames, of Washington Heights, left behind a young daughter.
Pinero's lawyer, Michael Dowd, hinted that he will argue that Pinero acted in self-defense at his upcoming trial, saying he's found witnesses who saw Adames attack Pinero on the night of the stabbing.
The Manhattan District Attorney initially argued that Pinero had the resources to go on the lam, including a $1.3 million home and two luxury cars. Sources close to Pinero said that bad financial times forced him to sell one of his cars in the spring, and that he had not been able to pay the mortgage on his house in months.
"The car in question was sold, six months before this event ever took place," said Michael Dowd, Pinero's lawyer.
Pinero was on the run for two days after the September stabbing, before turning himself in on Oct. 4.
Dowd has argued in the past that his client was unaware that he was being sought by police following the alleged stabbing, and turned himself in when he realised cops were looking for him. On Tuesday, Dowd said he couldn't speculate on the reasons that Saxe granted bail for the club promoter.
"But [Pinero] has no history of flight," Dowd argued. "That is the sole inquiry to be satisfied on the whole issue of bail."
At a court hearing in November, Dowd also argued Pinero's ailing mother and brother relied on him for financial and physical support.
A source close to Pinero said that supporters were looking to put up their houses as bonds. A legal defense fund set up for him had accumulated $3775 as of Tuesday night.
"We're in the process of getting that accomplished," Dowd said. "We're trying to get friends and family to assist, but that hasn't happened yet."
Even if he is released, sources close to Pinero said his family is scared for his safety. A Twitter account created in Pinero's name has received numerous threats on Twitter.
Pinero's next court date will be Jan. 13, 2012.