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June 19, 2014

BREAKING: Bond reduction denied in Maynor murder case

CULLMAN — A writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of James Maynor, who is accused of killing the man convicted of molesting his daughter 12 years ago, has been denied in Cullman County Circuit Court.

Maynor’s defense attorney Tommy Drake has filed a writ of habeas corpus in the hope of having Maynor’s $141,000 cash bond reduced or changed to a more common property bond. Circuit Judge Gregory Nicholas denied the request following a 45-minute hearing Thursday afternoon.

Maynor allegedly shot registered sex offender Raymond Earl Brooks at the home he shared with his parents on the night of June 8. Brooks had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the suspect’s now-adult daughter in 2002 when she was a young girl and spent approximately two years in prison before being released.

The suspect has also been charged with attempted murder, reckless endangerment and shooting into an occupied building in an earlier incident outside the Berlin Quick Mart gas station involving his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, though no one was hurt. Investigators say there was a history of “bad blood” between the two.

In his order, Judge Nicholas noted the bail amount is typically at the discretion of the trial court, which is district court in this case, though it can be reviewed by circuit court.

Since all other procedures to lower the bond have not been exhausted, Nicholas said it would be inappropriate to “interfere with or interrupt the orderly administration of the criminal laws” by granting the petition.

In an interview with The Times following the ruling, Drake praised Nicholas’ reputation and admitted the ruling was “essentially a defeat at this time.” However, Drake said he plans to file a brief to vacate this order and will continue to push for Maynor’s bond to be changed or lowered.

Approximately 50 people filled the courtroom for the hearing, with more than a dozen in attendance wearing “Free Jay Bird” T-shirts in support of a reduced bond ruling for the accused.

Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock called two witnesses, Jeremy Trimble and Bobby Weeks, who were present for the gas station shooting.

Trimble testified he was present in the store at the time of the shooting and claimed one of the stray bullets came within 10 feet of hitting his child.

“I was alarmed for my son’s safety and it made my heart stop,” he said. “He tried to shoot someone and shot another man.”

Weeks was attending a child’s birthday party at the karaoke business located beside the gas station and said he heard a gun shot then looked outside to see Maynor with a gun drawn chasing another man. At that point, Weeks said he gathered the children together and took them inside for safety.

“It sounded like he was yelling ‘Come here you mother-(expletive),’” Weeks testified. “It scared me and the kids.”

Defense attorney Drake called to the stand Maynor’s wife Sandy, who testified in support of an affidavit of “substantial hardship,” arguing the family is incapable of paying the bond, so it should be lowered.

Sandy testified the family only has a small amount of cash on hand and is incapable of acquiring access to the funds necessary to cover Maynor’s bond.

“We have maybe $250 cash on hand,” she said from the stand. “Our credit’s not good, so we can’t get a loan.”

In an effort to show Maynor has a proven history of attending court appearances, Drake asked Sandy about his three previous domestic violence charges (which were all dismissed) and a driving under the influence charge to which he pled guilty.

When asked if Maynor has paid all his required fines and attended all required court dates, Sandy replied, “Yes, sir.”

Drake also noted Maynor has lived and worked in and around Cullman County all his life.

When approached after the hearing, Maynor’s wife and other supporters declined to comment.

Maynor’s case has made headlines nationwide. A social media campaign in support of him has garnered approximately 2,781 followers. A petition urging the court to lower Maynor’s bond has received more than 825 signatures as of Monday evening.

 

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