$750,000 bond set for suspect in slaying

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bond was set at $750,000 Wednesday for a Lincoln County manaccused of capital murder in the January 2004 slaying ofconvenience store owner John Deere.

It was unclear after the hearing, however, whether KennethBaggett Jr. would be able to come up with the $75,000 needed toearn his release. Family members were discussing the situation andhow to raise the funds, attorney Leslie Roussell said.

“It’s doubtful,” Roussell said following the Lincoln CountyCircuit Court hearing before Judge Mike Taylor.

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Baggett, 23, of 2471 Lake Lincoln Drive, has been in jail sincehis June 2004 arrest. He is accused in the Jan. 16, 2004, killingat Airport Pik and Pak. Previous efforts by other attorneys to haveBaggett released on bond were unsuccessful.

At the time of his arrest, Baggett was out on bond on a burglarycharge, which Judge Mike Smith interpreted to mean Baggett was notentitled to bond on the capital murder charge. Baggett laterpleaded guilty was placed on five years’ probation.

With the burglary charge resolved, the bond in that case is”moot” and Baggett is should be allowed to have a bond set,Roussell said.

Wednesday’s hearing focused frequently on Baggett’s history inthe community and the likelihood of his leaving should he begranted bond. Ties to the community were among eight factors to beconsidered in deciding on a bond.

Roussell pointed out that Baggett has lived in the community for15 years and is on disability. He also cited Baggett’s attendanceat various court dates on the burglary charges.

“The likelihood of Mr. Baggett leaving this area is very slim,”said Roussell, even offering to have the defendant wear an anklebracelet monitor, similar to what is worn in a house arrestsituation.

District Attorney Dee Bates, however, produced multiple recordsfrom justice court and municipal court where Baggett had failed toappear on various traffic offenses.

“He willfully disregarded the court in each one of theseinstances,” Bates said.

Baggett took the witness stand to help present his case forbond. Addressing the missed court appearances, he said he wastrying to go ahead and pay on the fines and in a few cases, he wasin jail at the time of the court hearing.

“I can’t go to court if they’re going to keep me locked up,”Baggett said.

Another factor in whether to grant bond is the state’s evidenceand the probability of conviction.

Roussell and Bates discussed the state’s evidence. However,Taylor said the evidence issue is only one aspect of one of thebond factors and he did not want to have a “mini-trial” duringWednesday’s hearing.

“The court has taken note of the fact that the state’s evidenceis testimonial rather than physical,” Taylor said.

At the end of the hearing, Taylor set the $750,000 bond forBaggett.

Conditions of the bond, should Baggett be released, include goodbehavior, staying away from all people involved in the case andremaining in Lincoln County at all times. Taylor rejected the ideaof Baggett wearing an ankle bracelet.

“It’s not going to keep anyone anywhere,” said Taylor, pointingout the bracelets serve mainly a monitoring purpose.

A status conference in the case is scheduled for June 13. A datefor trial could be set at that time.