The judge set the bond at $5 million for the man accused of killing K9 police officer Jethro.
The defendant, 22-year-old Kelonte Demorious Barefield, is probably not going to be able to get out of jail any time soon.
Barefield was arraigned and the judge kept his bond at $5 million dollars, as reported by Fox 8 in Cleveland, Ohio. His hearing occurred on Friday morning, the same day as Jethro’s memorial service.
The German Shepherd officer, badge number #60, was shot three times when he and a police officer responded to a burglary alarm early in the morning of January 9 at a food store. Barefield is accused of shooting the K9 Officer Jethro in the face, shoulder, and neck.
The defendant has been charged with aggravated burglary, assaulting or harassing a police dog, felonious assault on a peace officer, and having weapons under disability and shooting on or near a prohibited area, reported Fox 8.
Carmen Roe, a Houston criminal defense lawyer who has served as president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association told Breitbart Texas, “The $5 million dollar bond reflects the outrage of a community who lost a member of law enforcement. Bond amounts are set, in part, to ensure the public safety. Here, I think the judge correctly considered that it is Barefield who may not be safe on the streets of Ohio following charges on five serious felonies, including the intentional killing of Jethro.”
Houston criminal defense lawyer, Grant Scheiner, had a different take on the issue. He told Breitbart Texas, “Bond should never be used as a tool of oppression. Its purpose is to protect the community and ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. A $5 million bond, even for someone accused of doing something as cruel as this, is beyond the pale.”
As reported by Breitbart Texas, Ohio Revised Code 2921.321 provides, “No person shall knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, physical harm to a police dog or horse in either of the following circumstances: (1) The police dog or horse is assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted; (2) The police dog or horse is not assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted, but the offender has actual knowledge that the dog or horse is a police dog or horse.”
If the violation results in the death of the police dog or horse, the assault is a felony of the third degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the police dog or horse other than its death, the assault is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in physical harm other than death or serious physical harm, the assault is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Other states have similar statutes. The penalty for a felony of the third degree in Ohio is nine months to three years in a state prison.
Jethro’s partner, Canton Police Officer Ryan Davis, told Fox 8 News, “There is no doubt in my mind that I am here because of what he did.” The officer said he has had Jethro since he was eight weeks old and feels like a part of him is missing. He was presented the American flag that had been on Jethro’s casket.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, the memorial for Jethro was broadcast live on Fox8 News in Ohio. Hundreds came from all over to attend the service at the Canton Civic Center in Canton, Ohio. Over 100 K9 officers walked alongside their partners and the barks of the K9s were emotionally wrenching. Governor John Kasich ordered flags to fly half-staff in honor of the K9.
Kristi Schiller, founder of K9s4COPs immediately reached out to the Canton Ohio Police Department to offer condolences and to ask what her foundation could do to supplement the K9 unit. She said, “K9s4COPs knows K9 Jethro can never be replaced, he was very special and will be remembered as one of a kind. K9s4COPs intends to supplement the Ohio agency so their ability to fight crime does not become an issue,” Schiller told Breitbart Texas in an interview.
K94COPS, a non-profit based in Houston, Texas, places trained canines with law enforcement agencies that are hard pressed to fund their canine units due to budget constraints. Since its inception, Schiller’s organization has gifted an excess of 100 canines in 29 states and twelve schools. Most recently K9s4COPs granted a dog to Paris, France, when K9 Diesel lost his life in the November terrorist bombing attack.
K9 officer Krijger, from the Norfolk, Virginia Police Department, was shot and killed by an armed subject just a day after Jethro died. The shooting occurred during a barricade situation at a residential home where there had been a domestic violence call. After barricading his home for approximately seven hours, the man exited his home and refused to obey police orders to drop his gun. The man opened fire on the officers and he shot and killed K9 officer Krijger. The memorial service for Krijger has been set for January 19.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2