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Thursday, November 12, 2009

14 yr old boy and family remain in jail

CHARLESTON, W.Va.--It has been nearly five months since Phyllis Jean Phares, 82, was found dead in her West Side home.

The 14-year-old boy police arrested in her death still waits to see whether he will be prosecuted as an adult.

Five of his family members remain behind bars on various charges filed in the days after Phares' death, unable to post bonds or meet other terms set for their release.

Lawyers for two family members, both court-appointed, believe their clients' bonds are too high.

"Twenty-five thousand dollars cash... she'll never be able to make that," said Ed Bullman, a Charleston lawyer representing Trina Mallo, 27, who was charged with child neglect resulting in injury. "It might as well be a million."

Trina Mallo
Trina's two children, ages 6 and 7, are in the custody of state Child Protective Services. She and her parents were charged with child neglect in the days after Phares' murder and after Trina's brother Thomas Mallo, 14, had been charged in the slaying.

Officials who entered the Mallo home found it to be in deplorable and dangerous condition for the children.

Bullman said he filed a motion Sept. 24 for Trina's bond to be reduced, but Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey denied his request. He said the judge did not give a reason for her ruling.

He said his client is waiting for Trina's case to be sent to the grand jury. That panel will decide whether to proceed with the charges.

Her mother, Carolyn Mallo, 55, also charged with child neglect, is in the same situation.

Carolyn Mallo
Matthew Victor, Carolyn's court-appointed attorney, said proceedings against his client are in a holding pattern.

Victor said he has been trying to get Carolyn out of jail since he was appointed but says he has been thwarted at every pass.

Her bond, initially set at $25,000 cash, was reduced to $15,000 property or 10 percent cash. It also carries the stipulation that she be placed on home confinement upon release.

Victor said Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman imposed the stipulation of home confinement but has yet to respond to the lawyer's queries as to the reasons.

Victor said he has not been told whether the home of a relative suggested as a place for Carolyn to serve her home confinement had been approved or denied by home confinement officers.

"What difference does it make if she goes to a halfway house, to Sojourners' or to a relative's?" Victor said. "She's not a flight risk. Where would she go?"

At a July bond reduction hearing, Victor told Kaufman the woman wasn't doing well at South Central. Her false teeth were stolen, he said, and she was suffering from a number of health issues including high blood pressure, short-term memory loss, back and shoulder problems, difficulty walking and asthma.

He said this week that Carolyn was "doing as well as somebody her age and with her health problems could be doing in jail."

Victor said he is disappointed the state is taking so long to move forward on the case.

"Based on my knowledge, the state's investigation is complete and has been for several months," he said. "We're in a holding pattern until there is either an indictment or they cut her loose."

Both Bullman and Victor said they expect their clients' cases to be brought before a grand jury before the end of the court term in January.

Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said the Mallo family members in custody had bonds set "just like any other offender."

Bill Lester is representing Thomas' brother, Alexandrio "Mikey" Mallo, 23, who was charged with sexually abusing his 7-year-old nephew and is being held on a bond of $25,000 property only. Lester could not be reached.

Alexandrio "Mikey" Mallo
An attorney for Alexander Doran, 67, who is being held on a $25,000 cash-only bond, could not immediately be located.

Alexander Doran
Charles Hamilton, who is representing another brother, Farris Mallo, 30, declined to comment. Farris' bond was reduced to $25,000 property but carries the stipulation that he be placed in home confinement.

Farris Mallo
Plants said his office is still pushing for the transfer of the 14-year-old boy charged in the incident to adult status.

While officials can't name the boy while he retains juvenile status, neighbors identified him after his arrest in Phares' death as Thomas Mallo. His name also has been revealed in family members' public court proceedings.

Plants said, "This is still an ongoing investigation, and we're moving forward with the prosecution, but because he's a juvenile I can't get into any details as to where we are. Juveniles are entitled to just the same, if not more, rights than adults."

Plants said he couldn't comment on the reason for the delay but said the case still is being investigated.

Police made short work of the initial investigation, throwing every available detective at the case.

Phares' body was found in her home on the evening of Sunday, June 14.

Eight members of the Mallo family apparently lived in the small blue house across the street from Phares on Frame Street on Charleston's West Side.

The first to be arrested after the elderly woman's death was Alexandrio. He was arrested two days after Phares' body was found and charged with sexually abusing his 7-year-old nephew. Police said the allegations came from the boy's mother, Trina.

On Wednesday, June 17, Thomas was taken into custody. Police said the juvenile had been charged with the elderly woman's slaying.

The next day, his parents and older sister were arrested and charged with felony child neglect resulting in injury after officials reviewed conditions inside the Mallo home. Trina's two children also lived in the home.

By the end of the week, Farris had been arrested. He was accused of breaking into his ex-wife's home on at least three occasions and raping her. The woman said he had broken into her home and assaulted her the morning of June 14, just hours before Phares' body was found.


Deborah November 2, 2013 at 5:57 PM  

Not everyone should have the privilege of reproduction. Best of luck to the children removed. But genetics play a big role in their future.

betsybon August 5, 2014 at 7:37 PM  

I heard there was animal abuse also. Were they ever charged for that?

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