DUI manslaughter suspect has bond revoked after liking Facebook photo

Judge says Paul Maida violated court order by clicking 'like' button

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

Paul Maida had his bond revoked after liking his ex-girlfriend's Facebook photo and was ordered back to jail.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Clicking the "like" button on Facebook led a South Florida judge to revoke the bond of a Boca Raton man charged with DUI manslaughter in the 2014 death of a 65-year-old bicyclist.

Paul Maida had been on house arrest, but Palm Beach County Judge Krista Marx revoked his $76,000 bond Wednesday and ordered him to remain in jail until his case is resolved, according to a report in the SunSentinel.

Assistant state attorney Laura Laurie argued in court that Maida, 31, liked a photograph on the Facebook page of his ex-girlfriend, Bianca Fichtel, who is also a key witness for the prosecution. Laurie said that doing so violated a court order for Maida to avoid any contact with Fichtel.

Fichtel, 26, had previously been charged with DUI manslaughter in the April 2014 death of George Morreale, but prosecutors dropped the case against her and filed charges against Maida instead.

Maida was arrested in December and remained in custody until May, when his bond was reduced. 

Police said Maida and Fichtel switched seats in her pickup truck after leaving the scene of the fatal crash on Yamato Road.

According to a Boca Raton police report, Fichtel told prosecutors in a May 2015 sworn statement that she let Maida drive her truck because he was abusive sometimes and she was scared of him when he got angry at her.

Fichtel said she asked Maida why he didn't say he was driving, and he told her that he didn't have a license and just couldn't say anything, the report said.

Police said Maida and Fichtel exchanged emails about the crash.

"Yeah, will you please talk to me?" Maida said in one of his emails to Fichtel, according to the report. "I know you're upset with me and I could only imagine. I love you. I can't believe the mess I've made. .. It's going to take some time, but I promise I am going to do everything I can so they don't charge you and only charge me."

In another email, Maida promised to turn himself in, the report said.

Laurie said Fichtel first violated the court order in July, when a dozen dead roses were delivered to a pet store where Fichtel worked. Laurie said they came with a message: "Deliver them to Bianca. She will know they are from her ex-boyfriend."

Later that month, Laurie said, Fichtel was awakened by a banging on her bedroom window. She later retrieved a typewritten note from under her car's windshield wiper blade that read, "There is nowhere you can go that I can't find you. I will never stop loving you."

Then in August, Maida liked Fichtel's Facebook photo, which Laurie argued was a violation of his court order.

In addition to DUI manslaughter, Maida is also charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death, making a false report and driving with a suspended license.

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