'We're not going away': Milwaukee family brings awareness to low bail practices after son's death

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee family is turning their grief into action after their son was killed this fall.


Danari Peer died in a car crash on Oct. 5, 2022, while in a car driven by Jai'Quann McMurtry.


Police say McMurtry was racing at 109 miles per hour when he hit a tree, killing Peer.


Before the crash, McMurtry already had three separate felonies related to gun and cocaine possession.


He received a $1,000 signature bond and $500 cash bond for those incidents and was out on bail at the time of the crash.


When Peer's family learned about McMurtry's bail history, they started advocating to change the system.


McMurtry appeared in Milwaukee County court on Thursday morning, using crutches and a wheelchair.


He pled not guilty to six charges from Oct. 5 -- three counts felony bail jumping, cocaine possession, driving without a license, and second-degree reckless homicide of Danari Peer.


"I miss my son. That was everything to me," said Danari's father, Jackie Peer. "He was so goofy; he had a huge smile."


Peer's family believes if McMurtry had higher bail for his previous felonies, their son might still be alive today.


"Within two years, he accumulated six felonies and was still allowed to be on the street," Jackie Peer said.


"We are fighting for the catch-and-release to be eliminated," said Nicole Byrd, Danari's mother. "This is not just justice for our son. This is for Milwaukee, for our community."


The family is calling out the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for low bail practices.


"This is so unnecessary and could be prevented. We don't want other families to have to experience this pain," Jackie Peer said.


They've created social media pages called Justice4Danari, where they're connecting with other families with similar experiences, including those affected by the Waukesha Christmas parade attack.


"We are asking the Waukesha families, when they feel up to it, to join us," Byrd said.


Peer's parents attended McMurtry's arraignment Thursday morning.


They believe a $50,000 bail is not enough for their son's life.


"We're not going away. This is something we feel we need to continue on to honor Danari and help other families," Peer said.


CBS 58 reached out to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for comment and did not receive a response.

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