Orange is a familiar color for Bill “El Wingador” Simmons, but he traded in a wing sauce-stained T-shirt for county jail overalls Friday afternoon, as he and his attorney made an appeal in Superior Court for a reduction in a six-figure bail for charges Simmons was dealing cocaine.
But even after attorney David S. Bahuriak, a private attorney who took over from the public defender, spoke at length about Simmons' charity work, family life and local ties in an attempt to get the bail cut in half, Judge Walter L. Marshall turned down the request, leaving the wing king's bail at $100,000 cash or bond.
Assistant Prosecutor Alec Gutierrez argued Simmons, who has been charged with first-degree cocaine distribution, is a flight risk, given he's facing significant jail time—up to 20 years in prison on the single count of cocaine possession.
“I think $100,000 cash or bond is low,” Gutierrez said. “The state believes it's appropriately set.”
Simmons was found with in his Kia when state troopers arrested him last week—enough, according to Gutierrez, to make 1,120 “street bags,” which could in turn be sold for anywhere from $10 to $15 dollars per bag. The uncut cocaine was worth $8,000, police said, but Gutierrez pegged the dealing value at up to nearly $17,000.
Bahuriak argued as a first-time offender, Simmons deserved a lower bail, and went on to describe the as a family man who supports his mother.
“He’s a big guy, with a big personality and a big heart.” said Bahuriak after the hearing.
Simmons, in contrast to his gregarious Wing Bowl persona, stood stoic in the courtroom and only exchanged a few words with his attorney during the six-minute bail hearing.
Bahuriak also cited the many times Simmons had helped raise money for charities—everything from breast cancer to autism.
“He used his celebrity not to make himself rich, but actually for local charities,” said Bahuriak.
Bahuriak explained to the judge that Simmons’ mother was willing to put up her home as collateral for bail and that his father, who lives in Florida, was willing to contribute some money, yet with all that, it would still be nearly impossible to reach $100,000.
He insisted Simmons would go as far as to turn in his passport, if it meant reducing the bail.
After the rejected bail motion, Bahuriak said Simmons is very remorseful and ashamed that he had tarnished his reputation.
“This isn’t a guy who is clamoring to get out of jail,” said Bahuriak.
Simmons, most commonly known as “El Wingador,” became a local celebrity after winning Wing Bowl five times, including three straight from 2001 to 2003.
In 2006 he became the Wing Bowl Hall of Fame’s first ever inductee.