Judge sets bail at $850,000 in Russellville slayings
A Pope County man charged with shooting two men and crushing their bodies in a car is expected to be released from jail today after a judge granted a defense motion Monday to set bail.
Circuit Judge David Laser of Jonesboro set bail for Tyler Barefield, 35, at $850,000 during a motions hearing in Russellville.
According to the Pope County sheriff’s office, Barefield was expected to be released on bond today.
Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons said conditions of the bond were that Barefield must wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, he cannot travel more than 100 miles from Russellville and he must surrender his passport.
Barefield is charged with two counts of capital murder in the Sept. 16 deaths of Aaron Brock, 22, and Beau DeWitt, 22, both of Dardanelle.
Their bodies were found crushed in a car at U-Pull-It Auto Parts, a Russellville salvage yard in which Barefield was part owner.
Barefield was scheduled to go on trial today, but Gibbons said his trial was continued until June 10 because of the lengthy trial preparation involved in the case.
Barefield’s attorney, Patrick Benca of Little Rock, had filed a motion March 7 asking Laser for a new bail hearing. Gibbons had pointed out in his response filed Friday that a district judge in September and a circuit judge in November had denied requests for bail for Barefield.
The Arkansas Supreme Court denied Benca’s request in January for a writ of certiorari to overturn the circuit court’s bail denial, Gibbons wrote.
In his bail reconsideration motion, Bemca cited several changes since the initial denial of bail that he said entitled Barefield to bail.
Information discovered during trial preparations, he wrote, raised questions about state witness testimony in the previous bond hearing.
Benca also argued that the state announced last month it was not seeking the death penalty against Barefield.
And “a change of circumstances has occurred since the previous bond hearing, as family members of the deceased have requested members of a white supremacist group harm the defendant while he is in jail,” Benca alleged in the motion.
The state failed to show “the proof is evident or the presumption great” that the case warrants the capital murder charges or, if convicted, capital punishment, he argued. If Barefield had not been charged with capital murder, he would be entitled to have bail.