JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Two people accused of trying to drive into New York City with a cache of weapons to rescue a teenager whose friend had overdosed on heroin had their bid for a bail reduction denied by a judge on Wednesday.
Attorneys for John Cramsey and Dean Smith had sought to have them allowed to post 10 percent of their $75,000 bail instead of the whole amount in cash, as ordered last week.
Cramsey, Smith and Kimberly Arendt, all from Pennsylvania, were arrested June 21 as they prepared to enter the Holland Tunnel in a truck carrying weapons including a semi-automatic military-style rifle, a shotgun and five handguns, police said. Cramsey, of Zionsville, Smith, of Whitehall, and Arendt, of Lehighton, are charged with several weapons offenses, but their attorneys have said the police search was illegal.
Cramsey, whose daughter died of a heroin overdose in February, had posted online he was heading to New York to "rescue" a 16-year-old girl whose friend had overdosed.
Defense attorney James Lisa argued Wednesday that Cramsey, a gun shop owner he said has no criminal record, was being treated more harshly than defendants in other cases who were given the 10 percent option despite facing more serious charges.
But state Superior Court Judge Martha Royster rejected the argument and pointed out that Cramsey has no ties to New Jersey or Jersey City and would have "an hour's head-start" if he decided to flee from Pennsylvania.
The judge also noted Smith has a criminal record from the 1980s and told his attorney, Mario Blanch, that bail could have been set higher for him.
Smith, a graphic designer and videographer, was "going along for the ride" to film the rescue and didn't know there were guns in the car, Blanch said.
Lisa said he didn't think Cramsey regretted the reason for his trip.
"I know he's genuine," Lisa said. "I know he was really authentic in terms of wanting to help people. I know he was traumatized by the death of his daughter. So, we'll deal with it."
Lisa said he would appeal the judge's decision to the state appellate division.
Arendt didn't attend Wednesday's hearing and was enlisting a new attorney, who couldn't be reached for comment.
This story has been corrected to show Cramsey's lawyer's argument was based on bail given to defendants facing more serious charges, not those who had committed more serious crimes.