JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Twin sisters found guilty on Wednesday of charges in the shooting of their niece in the stomach during an argument were allowed free on bond until they are sentenced -- something that concerns the victim and some court officials.
Jurors found Joyce Williams guilty of attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon. She faces a minimum of 25 years in prison when she is sentenced next month. Her sister, Joycelyn Glover, was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is facing at least five years behind bars.
Many were surprised when Judge Suzanne Bass did not remand them into custody immediately after the trial. Instead, they were allowed to remain free until their sentencing hearings.
Kiwana Daniels was among those surprised, saying it was something she wasn't expecting.
"I was just surprised," said Daniels. "But it's the judge's decision."
Daniels asked Channel 4 to keep her face hidden during an interview Friday night. Daniels spoke publicly for the first time since December when she was shot in the stomach.
"I was kind of shocked, but the decision is done," said Daniels. "It does concern me a little bit, but not too much."
Daniels said it's been hard on her and her five children who are dealing with no longer being able to see the women they consider grandmothers.
"It's kind of hard. I have nightmares now and then," said Daniels. "Wake up, shake through the night. Just try to stay focused. My kids, they're a lot of support. But I have to stay strong for them. They saw what happened as well."
While Daniels is still dealing with the emotional pain of what happened, she said she still feels safe despite the judge's decision to let Glover and Williams out of jail while they await sentencing.
"I don't think they'll come around here. I can't really say but no telling what'll go through someone's head," said Daniels. "But the incident happened. I'm still shocked it happened. I can't believe it. I wouldn't never thought nothing like this ever happened."
Attorney Dale Carson, who's not involved in the case, said the decision is legal, but rare, especially when it comes to someone found guilty of a violent crime.
"They're facing 25 years minimum mandatory in prison, and you wonder what they're going to do during the time they're not actually under sentence," Carson said. "That should be a concern to everybody."
The sisters were not at home Friday afternoon when Channel 4 went by their home. A neighbor said the women rarely spend any time there.
Carson says he's not sure what factors led into the decision, but Judge Bass is the ultimate deciding power until the women are sentenced.
Bass declined to comment about her reasons for the decision, her assistant replying in writing, "Judge Bass cannot and will not comment on a pending case."
Prosecutors also would not answer questions about the case, but issued a statement: "As is customary with any conviction, the state requested that Ms. Williams, convicted of attempted murder in the second degree, and Ms. Glover, convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, be remanded into custody."
Channel 4's crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said the judge must have felt these women would obey the rules until they're back in court.
"If they feel they are not a flight risk, if they feel they are not a threat to everyone in society, they might grant that," Jefferson said.
Because no house arrest or GPS monitoring was ordered, no one will be keeping track of where are until they return to court for a sentencing hearing the third week of June.
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