Cylar Shemwell appeared in court Tuesday morning for a formal bond hearing in reference to the Jan. 17 shootings on Audubon Avenue that left three victims dead and one hospitalized.
Shemwell and Arnett Baines, the men accused of the crime, were originally charged with three counts of murder and one count of first-degree assault.
Shemwell entered a plea of not guilty on Feb. 12, and, Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, Judge Jay Wethington set a full cash bond at $250,000.
While prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty for Shemwell at this point, with new evidence coming in every day from the Owensboro Police Department, there is a possibility that could change.
When the bond hearing began, Shemwell’s public defender asked Judge Wethington to set a low cash or unsecured bond with a condition of home detention, citing “his lack of serious record and lack of felony convictions.” She said it was this reasoning that pretrial services evaluated Shemwell as low risk. His attorney said Shemwell’s mother, who was in court Tuesday morning, would ensure that he comply with house arrest and that he make all court appearances, despite the fact that she lives nearly two hours away in Jeffersonville, Ind.
Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Kuegel argued that while Shemwell did not have any prior felony convictions, he did have extensive misdemeanors, including numerous failure to appear charges, a weapons charge, driving under the influence and alcohol intoxication charges and a wanton endangerment in the second degree conviction.
“As the court has pointed out, it is not the purpose here today to try the case, but we are looking at the serious nature of the charge,” Kuegel said, asking that Wethington continue to hold Shemwell without bond.
Kuegel said that while the Commonwealth has not yet filed notice to seek the death penalty, new evidence is coming in almost daily.
“I’m not going to say we are going to file [for the death penalty], but there is overwhelming evidence that there is more going on with Mr. Shemwell,” said Kuegel, who later told Owensboro Times that the death penalty notice must be filed within “a reasonable amount of time.”
Judge Wethington said that he disagreed with pretrial service’s low-risk assessment of Shemwell.
“They [pretrial services] are not taking into consideration the nature of this charge and Mr. Shemwell has a prior criminal history that goes back 13 years to a weapons charge that was dismissed, but still carries weight and terroristic threatening that was also dismissed,” Wethington said. “And he is looking at possible death in this case.”
With that reasoning, Wethington set Shemwell’s bond at $250,000 full cash, the same received by Baines in an earlier bond hearing.
“Mr. Kuegel says there is more evidence coming in every day that shows [Shemwell] may be as involved or more involved as Mr. Baines, but he is seen on video firing a gun and Mr. Shemwell is seen simply sitting, not taking action, which as far as I’m aware is not a crime,” Shemwell’s attorney argued to Wethington, who maintained the full cash bond he set.
Shemwell’s attorney asked Wethington for a pretrial conference to be scheduled in the near future to discuss the near terabyte of evidence she has been told is coming by the Commonwealth attorney’s office. She is specifically interested in statements from two people that could create conflicts of interest for the public defender’s office should they also be represented clients.
Wethington asked Kuegel why there was a delay in presenting the evidence to the defense.
“We have videotape that was received yesterday afternoon [Monday] and it’s being downloaded,” Kuegel said. “It’s a big file. It is a terabyte. We are going to have it available this afternoon. We are going to make sure they have all the discovery in volume.”
Wethington set a court date for March 18 to address the possible conflict of interest the public defender’s office may have given the evidence presented by the Commonwealth attorney’s office.