The former Luther band teacher’s attempt to get his $200,000 bond reduced was denied in Oklahoma County District Court this morning. Judge Glenn Jones denied the bond reduction saying it was because of the nature of the allegations involving a charge of first degree rape of a 12-year-old student, to protect the community, and the possibility that Kyle Whitmus could be a flight risk.
Before the the judge’s decision – the prosecutor and defense attorney made impassioned arguments to sway him.
Whitmus’ attorney, Sam Talley, argued that the bond amount was punitive in nature because his client has no criminal background, because of his voluntary participation in the months-long investigation that led to his arrest on Feb. 1, 2015, on five counts involving sexual misconduct with a child.
Prosecutor Michelle McElwee argued the allegations were serious, involved a child and a community and that the state was not arguing for NO bond, but a high bond.
The $200,000 bond requires a $20,000 payment for Whitmus to be let out of custody.
Whitmus was in the courtroom for the hearing, clad in handcuffs and an orange jail uniform. He held a Bible during the hearing and as he was escorted back to the jail.
Talley argued that Whitmus would not be a flight risk and his client would be living with family in Checotah, OK where a likely construction job would await him. He said his client has not and would not have contact with the victim.
The state countered with a witness, the father of the victim who said his daughter thought she saw Whitmus driving in a car while she was on an outing last summer. The allegations surfaced against Whitmus almost a year ago, and he resigned last May after being suspended in April from his position with the school district as band teacher.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle McElwee asked the girl’s father who was under oath whether there was any other known contact, and he said no. The father said he and his wife discovered text messages on the girl’s phone which they reported to the principal.
McElwee said Kyle Whitmus as a teacher, was in a position of power over his victim, a 12-year-old child, and the $200,000 bond was sufficient and reasonable.
Talley said he will vigorously fight the charges against his client, particularly the most serious charge of rape. He said his client had no sexual relationship with the girl. And some of the text messages involved in the state’s case will prove to be more of a “teacher-student” relationship as the investigation deepens.
McElwee countered that the state’s case could lead to more charges as investigators continue their work.
Judge Jones said the bond reduction was denied at this time, but the issue might be revisited as what is expected to be a very long case makes its way through the system.