Syracuse, NY – A Syracuse woman accused of murdering a 93-year-old at the Skyline Apartments in late February told a judge she went insane Thursday after he ordered her to be bailed out in two older cases and put $ 6 million on bail on the murder.
Victoria Afet, 23, faced a variety of other charges prior to the death of Connie Tuori on February 26 at her 12th floor apartment on the north side of town.
Judge Matthew Doran ruled Afet had no chance of bail in two of the old cases, and set bail at $ 2 million to $ 6 million in the murder case.
RELATED: Murder on the Skyline: A Story of Arrest, Freedom, and the Heartbreaking Death of an Elderly Woman
While it is common to detain someone without bail, it is quite rare for a judge to determine the possibility of bail of up to $ 6 million: ex-DeWitt doctor Robert Neulander, for example, is on bail of $ 1 million free – half of Afet's amount would have to post.
Although the millions in bail for the murder case are effectively locking up Afet, she was nonetheless concerned about the older cases.
"I'm just angry that I have no bail at all, not even because of my old allegations," Afet told the judge after his decision.
While Doran spoke to the lawyers in court, Afet couldn't stop talking to himself. Aside from her frustration with the no bail situation, her other concerns were directed against her attorneys and seemed to focus on minor planning issues – like whether she'd be on trial later that month when she was due in another case, for example at the same time.
At one point, the judge warned Afet that if she didn't stop talking, she could be removed. But her attorneys Susan Carey and Elise Voutsinas quickly noticed that she had simply talked to them about the case, possibly believing that the court's appearance was over.
Even after this statement, Afet continued to speak quietly to Voutsinas while the judge made his decisions. At one point Carey leaned over and pointed out that the judge was still speaking.
Afet's mental health was an issue, and the judge ordered a mental health exam earlier this year before she was arrested for murder. That review found she was standing on trial, and Carey said Thursday that she has no plans to contest that decision.
This is how the judge's court rulings collapsed on Thursday:
The judge held her without bail on a previously indicted assault case accusing Afet of stabbing someone outside of a business in 2020. The judge found that in this case, Afet had skipped the charges and issued an arrest warrant against her. This indicated a "willful and persistent" inability to obey the court's rules, the judge ruled.
For an alleged robbery on February 18, in which Afet is accused of stealing and biting another elderly woman at Skyline, the judge ordered that Afet also be held without bail. That was because Afet had been arrested on a crime that caused harm to someone else after being charged with a previous crime, the judge ruled.
That ended the February 26 murder. Defense attorney Carey clarified her position in court on Thursday: she just wanted the judge to set a bail regardless of the amount. If Afet is convicted of murder in the future, it could mean she could qualify for a prison loan stemming from her arrests last year, Carey said.
It may be a relatively contentious point: Afet faces a life in prison with no parole if convicted of first degree murder in Tuori's stabbing death. Even so, Carey essentially asked the judge to set what bail he felt was right.
With that in mind, Doran placed bail of $ 2 million in cash, $ 4 million in bond, or $ 6 million in partially secured bond (released after payment of $ 600,000 to the Dish).
It is unclear whether Afet was ever able to pay bail in other cases. She was listed as homeless at the time of her arrest in February.
Afet will appear in court later this month.
Staff writer Douglass Dowty can be reached at email@example.com or 315-470-6070.