Bail was reduced for one of the late Ray Charles' longtime sound engineer following his arrest two weeks ago on allegations of stealing the singer's master recordings, authorities said.

Bail was reduced for one of the late Ray Charles' longtime sound engineer following his arrest two weeks ago on allegations of stealing the singer's master recordings, authorities said.

Terry Howard, 48, of Burbank, Calif., is charged with two counts of grand theft by embezzlement from Ray Charles Enterprises and one count of receiving stolen property.

At a hearing yesterday (March 1) in Los Angeles, Superior Court Commissioner Dennis Mulcahy said Howard had no prior record and reduced bail from $1 million to $100,000. Howard, arrested at his home Feb. 17, was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on March 28.

An executive with Ray Charles Enterprises called police after visiting Howard at his home last month and seeing boxes of the singer's recordings, including master recordings, according to KCBS-TV, citing police.

"We did a search warrant on his home and we recovered several hundred items that had been identified as belonging to Ray Charles Enterprises," Detective Donald Hrycyk told the news station.

Defense attorney Steven Cron said he was convinced of Howard's innocence. "Ray Charles counted on him for many, many years ... He's basically been working for Ray Charles for 20 years," the attorney said. "People just love this guy and respect him."

In a prepared statement, Charles' spokesperson said, "Whatever the outcome, Ray Charles Enterprises puts a high value on its assets, especially its master tapes and will do its utmost to insure their safety and proper handling along with protecting other irreplaceable valuables belonging to the late entertainer and to his estate."

Howard was one of the sound engineers on Charles' final album, "Genius Loves Company," which won eight Grammys and album of the year last month.


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