An attempted murder suspect accused in an Upper West Side shooting was sprung from Rikers Island thanks to “sympathetic” prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who helped get his bond lowered, The Post has learned.
Darius Mungin, 20, had been locked up at the chaotic jail complex since October on charges he shot two people, including an 81-year-old apparent innocent bystander.
But he was cut loose earlier this month after prosecutors agreed to lower his bond from $500,000 to $100,000 — citing concerns for his safety following two gang assaults.
“The DA’s office seemed very sympathetic to Mungin’s situation and recognized the abuse and chaos he was suffering at Rikers,” Mungin’s lawyer Brian Kennedy said, adding that his client is “ecstatic” to be out of jail.
Kennedy had been petitioning the court to get Mungin released from Rikers after he was brutally beaten by gang members and stabbed, arguing that the Department of Correction had failed to keep him safe.
But after a lawyer for the DOC revealed Mungin had been transferred to a cushy, specialized unit, Kennedy cut a deal with the DA’s office to reduce the suspect’s bond, which was eventually put up by his father.
“The People did reach out to Mr. Kennedy to see if we can work out some kind of bail package as long as it is approved by Your Honor,” Assistant District Attorney Kristin Bailey told Judge Ann Scherzer, who originally set Mungin’s bail, during a Feb. 1 hearing to present the new bail package.
“We came to the agreement, and this is given the fact that within two months this defendant has gotten into multiple fights within Rikers, and I think for not only his safety but the safety of the others in Rikers, it is best to see if we can work this out.”
Mungin was behind bars after he and a co-defendant allegedly shot a 45-year-old in the chest and the 81-year-old in the foot while firing rounds indiscriminately near West 105th Street and Manhattan Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 30, court records show.
About two months later, cops from the NYPD’s Regional Fugitive Task Force caught up to Mungin at a Harlem apartment where he was allegedly found in bed — with a loaded 9mm firearm by his side, court records say.
But just over a month into his stay at Rikers, Mungin was jumped by a group of Bloods and Crips members who viciously assaulted him with a milk crate, food pan and tablet, according to DOC records and video.
“The video from November 28th is Mr. Mungin being attacked by at least 10 people, and being stomped and beaten, and basically left for dead,” Kennedy told Judge Ellen Biben, the case’s trial judge, as he showed the video in court while demanding his client be released.
“That beating of just him by at least 10 other inmates went on for about four to five minutes, and nobody came to intercede. Nobody came to stop it from Corrections,” Kennedy added. “Then he was dragged into a vestibule and left for another four to five minutes while the Department of Corrections just stood around and did nothing while he was lying on the ground unconscious.”
Following the incident, the DOC moved Mungin to protective custody – a housing area for assault victims and other vulnerable detainees – but about a week later, he asked to go back to general population after he was threatened, Kennedy said.
Several weeks later on Dec. 23, Mungin was attacked again and left with stab wounds to his head, shoulder and back, according to DOC records and Kennedy.
“These instances are happening because Mr. Mungin is not affiliated with a gang,” the attorney explained at a court hearing.
“The gang violence and the chaos that’s reigning in Rikers is rampant and as one of the report says, a preliminary motive behind these attacks on Mr. Mungin is because of extortion, for oppression. Meaning, the other inmates want to take what he has, whether it’s from the commissary or whatever else.”
Kennedy presented videos and records of the attacks in hopes of convincing the judge that Mungin needed to be released — and arguing that the DOC failed to do its job in keeping him safe at the problem-plagued lockup where inmates have been running amok.
But the DOC’s lawyer Benjamin Lee disputed the claim, saying during a Jan. 21 hearing that the agency had “repeatedly acted” to keep Mungin safe, including by moving him to protective custody and later a “very specialized” housing unit for young adults that’s considered one of the best on Rikers.
Inside the well-staffed unit, inmates can enjoy playing ping pong, browsing the internet and lounging on extra-plush mattresses, and comfortable furniture, according to jailhouse sources. The unit also has a TV on a wheel cart with updated movies, special blankets and paint they can use to decorate their cells in any color they want — except for red and blue, the sources said.
“The unit is essentially more of a therapeutic and safer housing area … [it’s] a totally different concept of housing,” Lee explained in court.
He showed the court a statement from Mungin indicating he was “good” in his new unit and did “not need [protective custody].” The document was signed just two days before the Jan. 21 hearing.
“So Mr. Mungin, just a few days ago, essentially acknowledged that his current housing situation is certainly a lot better than before, and it’s not a dangerous and violent situation,” Lee argued at the hearing.
The judge in the case acknowledged Mungin’s new digs did “sound like … a better and safer situation” but still criticized the DOC for the gang attacks, calling them “unacceptable” and saying the agency should’ve acted sooner.
But before Biben could make a decision on Kennedy’s petition to get Mungin released, the attorney hatched a deal with the DA’s office to lower his bond from $500,000 to $100,000 with electronic monitoring.
The arraignment judge approved the new bail package on Feb. 1 and two days later, Mungin was a free man after his father put down $10,000 to secure the bond.
The DA’s office said it agreed to the lower bond package because Mungin had a unique security risk and defended the amount as enough to ensure his return to court.
Veteran jailhouse sources, however, told The Post Mungin’s situation was not “rare” by any means and while unacceptable, fights and slashings happen “daily.”
“Now others will see this and try to do the same,” one jailhouse source said.
“If they have a supportive family and a good lawyer who is paying attention, they would be insane not to.”