WHITLEY COUNTY — Two of four men accused of raping an intoxicated woman at a Williamsburg motel in May were denied reduced bonds Friday, while another had his bond amended and the fourth was released from custody.
Ronald Leas, 18, of Corbin; Benjamin Brock, 19, of Williamsburg; Michael Davis, 18, of Emlyn; and Ryan Davis, 18, of Emlyn; all appeared together in Whitley Circuit Court for a bond hearing Friday, where defense attorney argued in favor of the court providing bond amounts that were less “excessive.”
Leas, Ryan Davis and Michael Davis were each being held on separate $100,000 cash bonds, though the two former are also facing additional charges in Whitley District Court that they obtained while previously out on bond. In that case, they are charged with intimidating a witness in the legal process, which they were arrested on last month after allegedly attempting to make contact with the victim in the rape case.
Michael Davis had been out on a surety bond but was taken into custody Monday when the four men were in court for a pretrial conference. At that time, prosecutors argued that the charges warranted a more-severe bond than “just a signature.”
During Friday’s hearing, Leas’ attorney, Caleb Pittman, argued that the bond amount was too high and “not reasonable” given that he has not been indicted on the new charges and that they are currently just allegations. Ryan Davis’ attorney, Jay Fleenor, cited Kentucky statutes and case law regarding bond and defendants that are deemed to be low risk.
“We’re just asking the court to follow statute,” said Fleenor.
But Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling quickly objected to the argument, saying that he believed the statute was being “misapplied,” especially regarding Leas and Ryan Davis, who could potentially serve a lot of prison time for their new charges.
“There is no one with a Class A felony facing 20 to 50 years who isn’t a flight risk,” said Bowling.
Ultimately, Judge Dan Ballou ruled to leave the bonds unchanged.
Michael Davis’ attorney, Chris Miniard, also pointed to his client’s low risk, but added that in the nearly month he spent out of jail on bond since being indicted, he has obtained full-time employment, passed several drug tests and been present in court.
“I believe he should be allowed the same bond or a similar bond as before,” said Miniard. “He can better serve himself and the community out at work.”
Judge Ballou refused to allow a surety bond for Michael Davis, instead ruling to amend his $100,000 cash bond to 10 percent.
Brock’s attorney, Paul Croley, was not available for the hearing, but had reached an agreement with the court Monday when the issue was first raised. Brock was arrested Monday after failing a drug test, allegedly showing he had marijuana in his system. Judge Ballou allowed him to be released Friday on his 10 percent $100,000 cash bond that had been previously posted.
A pretrial conference is currently set for Sept. 10 for all four men.
Police began an investigation into the alleged incident after a female victim contacted police to report that she had been sexually assaulted by the four men at an area motel on the date listed in the indictment. The victim allegedly told police that she was heavily intoxicated to the point of incapacitation at the time the alleged incident occurred.
Leas turned himself in May 23 after learning that police were searching for him. After providing statements to police, he was arrested and charged with first-degree rape and video voyeurism. Brock and the Davis brothers were taken into custody May 25 after police obtained arrest warrants for them.
All four men were individually indicted by a Whitley County grand jury in July, formally charging them with first-degree rape and video voyeurism.
Leas, Ryan Davis and Michael Davis currently remain jailed in the Whitley County Detention Center.