All four defendants in a recent Williamsburg rape and video voyeurism case are now currently behind bars following a court hearing Monday afternoon in Whitley Circuit Court, but that is expected to change for at least one of the defendants on Friday.
On July 15, the Whitley County Grand Jury indicted Ronald Leas, 18, of Gray, Benjamin Brock, 19, of Williamsburg, and Ryan Davis and Michael Davis, both 18, of Emlyn, charging all four with first-degree rape and video voyeurism.
On May 18, the group allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse with a female while she was physically helpless, and used a camera phone to record a sexual act with the victim, according to their indictments.
Leas and Ryan Davis were later charged with tampering with a witness in regards to allegations that each separately went onto property where the victim worked despite a condition of their bonds being that they have no contact with the victim. So far neither has been indicted on that charge.
Both were already lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center where they are being held in lieu of $100,000 cash bonds in the tampering case prior to Monday’s hearing.
Brock and Michael Davis had been free on bonds previously posted in district court in the rape and video voyeurism case prior to Monday’s hearing.
All four defendants appeared in Whitley Circuit Court Monday for a pretrial conference in the rape and video voyeurism case where defense attorneys made arguments against a $100,000 cash bond that Judge Dan Ballou had set for each defendant on July 24, but those bonds apparently hadn’t gone into effect prior to Monday’s hearing.
During court proceedings Monday, attorneys for the defendants objected to Ballou changing the bonds from what the bonds had been in district court without first conducting a hearing.
Ballou responded that circuit judges usually leave bonds posted in district court in felony cases the same after a person is indicted for the same charges, but there is nothing requiring them to do so.
“These are my cases. I have discretion over bond period,” he added.
After hearing attorneys for Brock and Michael Davis argue that the previously posted bonds were accomplishing what they were supposed to do, which is get defendants to show back up for court and stay out of legal trouble, Ballou agreed to amend the bonds to $10,000 cash bonds for each defendant in the rape and video voyeurism case.
(The $100,000 cash bonds for Leas and Ryan Davis in the tampering with a witness cases remain unchanged though.)
However, Ballou held Brock in contempt of court for failing a drug test by testing positive for marijuana. He ordered Brock taken into custody but said Brock could be released from jail Friday on a previously posted $10,000 cash bond.
Ballou also warned Brock that this isn’t Colorado and he couldn’t smoke marijuana in Kentucky especially when he is out on bond.
Ballou also scheduled a bond hearing for Leas, Michael Davis and Ryan Davis Friday morning. Brock doesn’t have a bond hearing set for Friday morning because his attorney, Paul Croley, has to appear in another court in a previously scheduled case.
During Monday’s hearing, some defense lawyers also asked Ballou to set surety or signature bonds for their clients in the rape and video voyeurism case, which Ballou noted that he wasn’t going to do.
“No matter what happens today, I am not doing a surety bond,” he noted.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling objected during the hearing to the efforts to have surety only bonds in this case.
“A surety bond in a rape case is totally inappropriate,” Bowling noted in court adding he wants each of the defendants to post some type of bond so that they will have “skin in the game,” and so there is something prosecutors could have seized if a defendant violates their bond conditions or doesn’t show up to court.
After court Monday, Bowling added that it isn’t uncommon for circuit judges to change bonds previously set for defendants in district court. He noted sometimes the bond amounts are higher than in district court, and sometimes the bond amounts are lower than what was required in district court.
Ballou also scheduled a Sept. 10 pretrial conference for all four defendants in the rape and video voyeurism case, but he noted there might not be much that can be done at that hearing because court officials will likely still be awaiting lab test results in the case.