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State wants release of man convicted on child sex charges reconsidered

Former professor released on bond pending an appeal

Mark Fugler
Mark Fugler

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Office of State Attorney R.J. Larizza has filed a motion asking that the order allowing a former professor convicted on child sex charges to be released on bond pending an appeal be reconsidered.

The move comes days after the court granted Mark Fugler, a former Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor, a $200,000 bond allowing him to be released from jail as he appeals his case, despite the state's argument that Fugler does not have significant ties to the community and is considered to be a flight risk.

[RELATED: Former professor convicted on child sex charge bonds out of jailMan convicted of sex crimes on child could walk out of Volusia County Jail]

Fugler was convicted in June for showing pornographic material to a 7-year-old girl and performing sex acts in front of the child. According to court records, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in August.

The court's decision to allow Fugler to be released on bond sparked outrage from Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who took to social media to express his frustrations.

"He must be the envy of all sex criminals, able to walk free and enjoy the privileges of release on bond thanks to Judge Hutcheson's decision. Most other criminals sentenced to 15 years in prison have to file their appeals from a jail cell," Chitwood wrote on Facebook.

During a news conference Wednesday, Chitwood said the fact that Fugler is free is not fair to the victim's family.

"I'm tired of hearing about the defendant. Screw him. What about the victim and the rest of her life?" Chitwood asked.

He suspects that Fugler's attorneys will delay the legal process by filing repeated appeals.

"They will appeal this thing to death to where he gets to be a certain age and they'll say, 'Now he's too old to go to jail?'" Chitwood said.

Chitwood asked that Volusia County residents express their opinions on the matter by emailing Chief Judge Raul A. Zambrano and State Attorney R.J. Larizza.

Larizza's office announced the filing of the reconsideration motion Thursday, saying there has been great concern over the court's decision to grant him bond in the first place.

The office released the following statement from Larizza regarding the court's decision:

"There has been significant and legitimate concern over the Court's granting a supersedeas bond regarding defendant Fugler. The State Attorney's Office shares the public's concern. Let there be no mistake or misunderstanding that the State Attorney's Office has been working in opposition to the release from the beginning. We have filed a motion for reconsideration of the release with the Court and the motion reflects our legal position in opposition to said release. Our ultimate mission is to enhance and promote public safety. We will use every legal means at our disposal to oppose the release – and our efforts reflect our commitment to the safety of all of our families, neighbors and residents of the 7th Judicial Circuit."