Judge amends bond of man charged with striking pedestrians in Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 5, 2019

 Defendant Manhal Najib, 28, of Sterling Heights, stands with his defense attorney, Russell D. Donelson, at the 44th District Court March 5.

Defendant Manhal Najib, 28, of Sterling Heights, stands with his defense attorney, Russell D. Donelson, at the 44th District Court March 5.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

 Judge Jamie Wittenberg, of the 44th District Court, presides over a court appearance by defendant Manhal Najib, 28, of Sterling Heights, March 5.

Judge Jamie Wittenberg, of the 44th District Court, presides over a court appearance by defendant Manhal Najib, 28, of Sterling Heights, March 5.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — On March 5, 28-year-old Manhal Najib, of Sterling Heights, appeared before 44th District Court Judge Jamie Wittenberg after Najib allegedly hit a man and a woman with his vehicle following a dispute at a Royal Oak nightclub.

Wittenberg agreed to adjourn the probable cause conference to March 26 and set a preliminary examination, if needed, for April 10. He also allowed for Najib to pay 10 percent of his $250,000 bond — which was previously cash or surety only, no 10 percent — to get out of jail.

Russell D. Donelson, the defense attorney retained by Najib, said he needed more time to go over discovery, including video and numerous potential witnesses. He also requested that Wittenberg reduce his client’s bond to $10,000 or 10 percent, which Wittenberg said would be an “abuse of discretion.”

Donelson said Najib would not be a flight risk because he has lived in Michigan his entire life, is a U.S. citizen, has strong support from family and friends and long-term employment.

“He has no prior history of failure to appear,” Donelson said. “He lives with family here.”

Norma Chan, assistant prosecutor with the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, objected to any change in bond.

“The $250,000 cash bond is very appropriate in this matter,” Chan said.

She referenced Najib’s prior criminal history, which includes convictions for aggravated assault, domestic assault, felony possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, attempted maintaining of a drug house, failure to obey a traffic order, and misdemeanor attempted larceny in a building.

“There is an assaultive history there. (The defendant) was assaulting people he was close with. Now he’s assaulting strangers with a vehicular instrument following a bar incident. He’s striking strangers,” Chan said. “I have a real concern for the general public, their general safety.”

Wittenberg said the Oakland County Community Corrections Pretrial Services report did not recommend release on any bond, but that if Najib was able to pay the $25,000 — 10 percent of $250,000 — he must be placed under house arrest with a GPS tether and adhere to bond conditions.

Bond conditions, he said, include no alcohol or controlled substances, no possession of any firearms or dangerous weapons, no driving or possession of any motor vehicle, monitoring through Pretrial Services, no contact with the alleged victims, and no contact with the location in question — Jolly Pumpkin, 419 S. Main St., in downtown Royal Oak.

Just before 2 a.m. Feb. 23, security removed two groups of people from the basement of Jolly Pumpkin, police said.

“It’s our understanding that (the defendant) was going up to women in the group and was described as harassing them, which may have been a catalyst for the whole conflict,” Lt. Keith Spencer, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said in a prior interview.

Witnesses told police the skirmish continued outside the establishment and a man from one of the groups reportedly got into a Buick Rendezvous, intentionally struck a woman, turned and intentionally struck a man, struck two signs and a parked vehicle, backed over the man again, and fled the area.

In court March 5, Donelson told Wittenberg that it was his understanding that one of the two complainants in the matter was a third-party bystander.

Both parties were taken to Beaumont Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and were later released.

Less than 24 hours after the incident, Royal Oak police officers on patrol observed a silver Buick Rendezvous at Main Street and University Avenue at approximately 11:30 p.m. Feb. 23. Police said they enacted a traffic stop and observed that damage to the vehicle was consistent with what witnesses reported, and the driver of the vehicle matched a description given by witnesses at the scene.

Police arrested the driver and a passenger, who had an unrelated felony bench warrant, and impounded the vehicle.

On Feb. 25, Najib was charged with two counts of felonious assault with a motor vehicle, two counts of failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident, one count of failure to stop after a collision, and one count of failure to report an accident.

Felonious assault with a motor vehicle carries a penalty of up to four years in prison; failure to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a year in jail; and failure to stop after a collision and failure to report an accident are both misdemeanors that carry a penalty of up to 90 days in jail.

Advertisement