Judge Denies Request to Lower Bond in Wentzville Barber Shop Shooting
Defense and prosecuting attorneys contended during a preliminary hearing over shooter's intent to harm the victim.
St. Charles County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Thornhill on Tuesday denied a bond reduction request for Lester Davis, who is accused of firing shots Dec. 18 at another man inside All Cuts Barber Shop in Wentzville.
During a preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon at the St. Charles County Courthouse, Luby and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jillian Anderson questioned the victim, Keith Young, the barbershop owner and a Wentzville Police detective who investigated the shooting.
“People look at this and say, ‘You know what? He could go into my barber shop or the grocery store and flip out again and start shooting,’” Thornhill told Davis. “You did something very spontaneous and very foolish.”
Davis is being held in St. Charles County jail in lieu of a $400,000 bond.
Davis began making a statement and said, “I’m not going to hurt anyone, your honor.”
His attorney, Edward Luby, interrupted his statement.
Luby requested the bond be lowered to $100,000 or $75,000 with an opportunity to pay 10 percent of the bond. He pointed out the first-degree assault charge is a class B felony in which no one was hurt. He said he’d seen class B felonies with bonds as low as $50,000.
“With $400,000, there’s no chance (for Davis to make bail),” Luby said.
Thornhill also noted Davis was convicted of manslaughter in 1975.
“I don’t know if when you started firing if you intended to harm Mr. Young or not,” Thornhill said. “But put yourself in (the victim’s) place, and if you have someone pointing a gun in your direction and firing shots, you believe that person is trying to kill you.
“I need a bond that reflects that,” the judge said.
During his arguments, Luby asked Young if he knew if Davis had any mental illness.
Later, Luby also told Thornhill, “We believe he needs to get some help, your honor.”
During the hearing, Anderson and Luby wrangled over testimony indicating whether Davis intended to hurt Young or not.
Young told how he was sitting in the barber chair while people were discussing the Newtown shootings in Connecticut.
“I said I was feeling sad those kids got murdered and I felt like I needed to murder someone,”
Young told the court that Davis said, “You talking to me?”
“I said, ‘No sir, I’m not talking to you. Please sir,” Young said.
Davis went outside and came back with a handgun and pointed it at him, and Young said he held up his hands and pleaded with Davis.
“I said, ‘No sir, I wasn’t talking to you,” he said.
He testified Davis shot one round past his head and fired two more into the floor inches from his feet.
Davis then said, “I’ll let you slide,” and left the shop.
The barbershop owner testified that after the shooting, Young took off his shirt searching for bullet wounds. He also said he didn’t know if Davis wanted to kill Young or not.
Luby said, “But if he had wanted to kill him, he could have? He was in a defenseless position?”
“Yes. We all were,” the shop owner said.
After the hearing, Luby said he was disappointed the bond wasn’t lowered.
“We’ll keep fighting,” Luby said. “I think he’s overcharged.”
Anderson declined comment.
For more information on the case on Wentzville Patch, see the following articles: