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Bond denied for CMU history professor

| Saturday, June 1, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

An Allegheny County judge denied bond Friday to Edward Constant, a Carnegie Mellon University history professor charged with shooting a Mt. Lebanon police officer May 26 during a domestic disturbance.

Common Pleas Judge Lawrence O'Toole agreed with First Assistant District Attorney Edward Borkowski who argued that no conditions could ensure the safety of the community if Constant, 59, were released from the Allegheny County Jail.

Constant, who is being treated at the jail medical center for a bullet wound to the buttocks — where he was shot by police — is charged with attempted murder, conspiracy, simple assault and four counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly shot Patrolman Daniel Rieg in the chest last Sunday with a .44-Magnum revolver.

Rieg, who escaped serious injury because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, was treated for bruises and lacerations.

O'Toole set bond for Constant's wife, Susan, 47, at $50,000 cash with the conditions that she receive alcohol abuse treatment, check in weekly with the county Bail Agency, surrender her passport and live outside Mt. Lebanon.

Her attorney, Claudia Davidson, said a friend has offered an apartment in Harmar Township where Susan Constant can stay.

Susan Constant, who was in the county jail, had been charged with interfering with officers by acting as a "shield" between her husband and police. She is charged with reckless endangerment, obstruction of justice, hindering apprehension and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Borkowski argued that a constitutional amendment permits the denial of bond in cases where no combination of conditions would prevent the risk of flight or danger to others.

Defense attorney Paul Boas said Edward Constant and his wife have a problem "when they are alone, fighting and drinking occurs."

He said if a high surety bond were granted, his client would agree to live apart from his wife, take medication that would make him sick if he drank, surrender all firearms and be placed on a curfew or house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Citing his client's clean prior record, Boas said several college colleagues were in court to express their support.

"When you try to shoot and kill police officers," as Constant is accused of doing, Borkowski said, it epitomizes the type of cases covered by the constitutional amendment that permits denial of bond.

Borkowski said Constant faces mandatory minimum five-year prison terms that are "non-negotiable" for the use of a gun in the assaults.

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