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Defense hints at strategy

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By Brad Bowman

editor@hclocal.com

Defense indicates entrapment could be a strategy for the Henry County woman who allegedly solicited a murder for hire against her ex-husband.

Shirley Truman, 68, of New Castle stood before Henry County Circuit Court Judge Karen Conrad and announced her position against ex-husband Donnie Trail.

“For the record, I want them to know I wouldn’t harm a hair on his head,” Truman said.

Department for Public Advocacy attorney Jessica Schulte made a request on Truman’s behalf for a bond reduction. Truman’s bond currently is $250,00.

“She is a low risk with no recurring problems. I see no reason for the court to keep her in custody when she has people she can live with,” Schulte said.

Truman added that she could live with her mother in Campbellsburg.

Conrad cautioned a bond reduction over concerns for the alleged victim Donnie Trail as he still lives in Henry County. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Josh Clubb asked for time to reply to Schulte’s motion.

“Solicitation for murder is just about as serious as it gets,” Clubb said. “Jessica made it aware to us that she was going to file this motion and we only received notice of it. I would ask for more time to reply to her motion. I understand it is fairly detailed — about four or five pages long — I would ask the court to allow me to make a written motion before the court decides.”

Conrad granted Clubb 10 days to file his counter motion.

In Schulte’s motion for bond reduction, the submission argues Truman has no prior record, no offenses, and since Truman has been on disability for 10 years, the bond amount is exorbitant.

“Truman comes across as a low risk on the pretrial assessment tool with a possible score of two points,” Schulte’s motion argues. “When a court sets an amount of bail on a defendant the amount shall be sufficient to ensure compliance with the conditions of release set by the court.”

The bond, according to the motion, should not be oppressive, commensurate with the nature of the offense charge and be considerate of the past criminal acts and the anticipated conduct of the defendant if released.

Schulte argued Truman is a low flight risk as she “…was born and raised in Henry County. She has moved out of the county at a few points in her life, but has been living in Henry County continuously for at least 15 years. Additionally, Truman’s mother and daughter live in Henry County. Given the roots and connections Ms. Truman has to Henry County and her age and poor health, it is unlikely that Ms. Truman will flee the jurisdiction prior to trial.”

An unsecured or by her own recognizance bond, Schulte argued, is sufficient to ensure compliance with any conditions the court may set on Truman.

The motion for bond reduction mentioned the amount was set due to the nature of crime, but without evidence.

“The district court denied Ms. Truman bond relief after her preliminary hearing because the court found that she was a danger to the community based solely upon the seriousness of her charges,” the motion states. “Making the finding simply due to the charge itself, without any evidence in the record to support the finding, is unacceptable for several reasons.”

Truman was arrested in December 2013 after an undercover officer met with Truman at the Pilot gas station in Pendleton where she allegedly divulged the plan for murdering her ex-husband. Truman gave the undercover officer written directions to her ex-husband Donnie Trail’s home. She provided a physical description and automobile information. In the police report it states that Truman did this, “…to aid and counsel…went to the victim’s apartment to show where he (Trail) lives and aid in the planning.”

At time of press, Truman is still being held in the Shelby County Detention Center on the original $250,000 bond and will appear in Henry County Circuit Court April 10.