Both men being held in jail without bail
Former Saints star Darren Sharper and a second man suspected in two Warehouse District rapes last fall were both behind bars Friday without bail, though in different cities.
Sharper, 38, surrendered to Los Angeles police Thursday night, shortly after New Orleans police said they had obtained an arrest warrant for him and a friend, Erik Nunez, in connection with the alleged rapes of two women Sept. 23 at an apartment in the 700 block of Tchoupitoulas Street.
Sharper, who is charged with two rapes in Los Angeles but was free on $1 million bail there, was being held without the possibility of bonding out on the New Orleans warrant.
Nunez, 26, turned himself in Friday morning at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and remained jailed, for now at least, without bail set — a move that angered Jeff Smith, his attorney, who at one point during an afternoon hearing was almost ejected from the courtroom.
Saying he is a flight risk, the district attorney asked a magistrate judge to allow Nunez to be held without bail until March 7. In its request, the DA’s Office said Nunez is an employee of the Saints and has the ability to leave the area.
A Saints spokesman, however, said he does not work for the team.
Smith said Nunez is an event organizer for organizations that Sharper is involved with but that he could not name particular organizations.
Smith said he was blind-sided when Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell signed off on the original motion that would have kept Nunez jailed without bail until March 10 — later changed to March 7.
“It smacks of being unfair,” Smith said, adding that he could only assume the decision was made to get Sharper into court first and set his bail. “They’re gonna keep this innocent man in jail for 10 days without the ability to make a bond. Guys charged with murder ... they get bonds set.”
Smith said he was preparing to file a writ to appeal the decision but was not hopeful it would be acted upon in a timely manner.
“(It’s) bad luck having this all going on with Mardi Gras starting,” he said.
A spokesman for the DA’s Office did not return a call seeking a response.
New Orleans police have released few details about the alleged rapes, saying only that Sharper is suspected of drugging at least one of the two victims and then raping them. Police said Thursday that Sharper and Nunez sexually assaulted the same two women the same night.
WWL-TV reported that a police source said the NOPD was preparing to bring Sharper to New Orleans on Wednesday.
In addition to the Los Angeles and New Orleans rapes, Sharper is suspected in similar cases in Las Vegas, Miami Beach, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz. He has not been charged in any of those cases.