Bond alteration denied for former jail deputy
by Cris Ritchie — Editor
HAZARD – A former deputy jailer will remain in jail while awaiting trial for manslaughter after a judge denied a motion to amend his bond conditions.
William Howell appeared in Perry Circuit Court on Thursday, where defense attorney Ryan Allison requested an alteration to Howell’s bond, which is currently set at $75,000 cash. Allison said a friend of Howell’s had offered to use property to post Howell’s bond.
Howell, 54, was indicted alongside 36-year-old Damon Hickman in August after the two were alleged to have been involved in an altercation with a prisoner at the Kentucky River Regional Jail on July 9. The prisoner, 54-year-old Larry Trent, died in the hours following the incident. A state medical examiner determined Trent’s cause of death as the result of blunt impact sustained during a “jail beating.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen objected to a reduction in Howell’s bond, asking Circuit Judge William Engle to consider the circumstances of Trent’s death and seriousness of the charge Howell faces.
Engle had previously denied a motion to reduce bond on Aug. 8, saying the facts of the case he was aware of then, which included allegations in the indictment and statements made by Kentucky State Police Detective Joel Abner, led him to believe that Howell and Hickman could represent a danger to others. He made that finding again on Thursday.
“There has been nothing said today to change my mind,” Engle said.
Howell will remain incarcerated at the Leslie County Detention Center. He and Hickman, who was released on a $75,000 bond in August and is currently on home incarceration, are set for trial on Feb. 17.
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