Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of Mitchell Doster, accused of killing Rickey Dease in Dale County in December 2017. Doster was indicted in the Dease murder in March 2018, and was freed on bond. A year later, he was charged in the March 2019 slaying of Orchid Nichole Bolin, whose body was found off Sutton Dairy Road just inside Barbour County with multiple gunshot wounds.

Orchid Bolin’s death is the third in which Doster has been charged. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a Coffee County slaying and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

With that on his criminal record, it’s puzzling that a judge would grant bail on a second murder charge — particularly in light of his subsequent charges in the death of Orchid Bolin. However, Alabama law extends the right to bail to defendants unless they’re charged with a capital crime.

It’s the sort of scenario that prompted Alabama lawmakers to pre-file legislation to reform the state’s bail bond system in advance of today’s start of the Alabama Legislature’s regular session.

Two bills on bail bond reform are in the pipeline, initiated as a result of the murder of Aniah Blanchard, who was abducted from Auburn last year and shot to death. The suspect in that case had been released on bail on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery.

In Houston County, a man charged with capital murder in March 2018 remains free on bond, despite having been arrested more than three weeks ago and charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, second-degree assault, and tampering with physical evidence.

Kenneth Glasgow was arrested along with Jamie Townes in connection with the 2018 shooting death of Breuna Jennings. Townes was indicted in the slaying, and is scheduled for trial in the coming weeks. Glasgow’s case is languishing, still awaiting grand jury action.

Glasgow was jailed after his Jan. 18 arrest on drug and assault charges, and prosecutors filed the paperwork to revoke his bond on the capital murder charge, but District Court Judge Benjamin Lewis declined to rule on the revocation motion and set bail on the new charges at $28,000. Glasgow posted bond and was freed.

Lawmakers have a raft of important issue before them, but should make a priority of reforming bail bond laws to ensure that the law-abiding community is protected from those charged with serious, violent crimes.

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