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JUDGE INCREASES BAIL FOR MURDER SUSPECT AFTER MISSED COURT DATE.

Byline: David Greenberg Daily News Staff Writer

Bail was increased to $250,000 Wednesday for a Simi Valley auto repair shop owner charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Thousand Oaks teen-ager.

Edward Nishida Drake, 51, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Leonard Anthony Coppola, failed to appear in court for a pretrial hearing Monday and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Judge Edward F. Brodie granted Deputy District Attorney Robert Calvert's full bail request for an increased bail after the prosecutor pressed the point of Drake's failed appearance Monday and the fact that the defendant has fewer ties to the area since the Dec. 10, 1997 shooting.

``He's vacated his business,'' Calvert said. ``Since then, he's failed to appear.''

Drake has a new pretrial court session scheduled for Dec. 14 and Brodie set a Jan. 19 deadline for the trial to begin.

Stephen Hogg, Drake's Simi Valley attorney, attributed his client's actions to a confusion in court dates. He asked Brodie to reinstate the $40,000 bail the judge revoked when he issued a $50,000 bench warrant Monday.

``He's made all of his (prior) appearances and he will continue to do so,'' Hogg said. ``He certainly wasn't preparing to flee.''

Drake was arrested by sheriff's deputies Tuesday after he was found having coffee with friends in Channel Islands Harbor, according to Capt. Keith Parks, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

``His comments to us were that he did not anticipate going to court until (today),'' Parks said. ``He did not resist. He didn't try and hide when the officers were coming up to him. He was arrested without any problem.''

Parks refused to speculate on whether Drake actually forgot his court date.

As of Monday, Drake had been free on $40,000 bail, which was set after prosecutors initially charged him with voluntary manslaughter in the Oct. 10, 1997 shooting.

After a preliminary hearing in December 1997, the District Attorney's Office increased the charge to second-degree murder.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 19, 1998
Words:331
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