NEW ORLEANS - When it came to using the jailhouse phone to call his wife, Wilfred Sophus was nothing if not persistent. So persistent, in fact, that Sophus is now being held on a $1.4 million bail after being accused of repeatedly violating a protective order.
Originally locked up on a single count of domestic battery, Sophus multiplied his troubles by allegedly using the Orleans Parish Prison phone 139 times in violation of the protective order that barred him from contacting his now-estranged partner.
When Magistrate Judge Gerard Hansen saw the new charges against Sophus, he flipped through dozens of identical pages outlining the accusations and decided to set his standard bail amount of $10,000 – that is, $10,000 for each attempted phone call.
Throw in an additional count of felony stalking and Sophus’ total bail was set at a $1.44 million, one of the highest amounts in recent court history.
“I wanted to send a message that we take these matters seriously,” Hansen said. “I was looking at 140 counts and I am required to set a bond on each one.”
Inmates at OPP get a limited number of phone calls, but according to a police report, Sophus was able to rack up a much higher number by using the phone privileges of other inmates. The report doesn’t indicate whether Sophus got permission from his fellow inmates to use their allotted calls.
Orleans Parish Prison Detective John Netto searched the prison’s phone records and found 139 calls placed to Ms. Sophus at three different numbers, the reports states.
When confronted with the accusations on Feb. 20, Sophus, 33, denied trying to call his wife, according to the report. Now he’ll have to start from square one of the criminal justice process to answer to the new charges.
“He started in Municipal Court, where he was about to go to trial,” Hansen said. “Now he’s got 140 brand new charges to deal with here in Criminal Court.”