Baxter County Circuit Court Judge John Putman said Thursday that he would enter an order lowering the bond for Jacob Anderson from $500,000 to $100,000, and would impose a number of conditions including that Anderson wear an ankle monitor and submit to random drug testing.
In a hearing last week, Anderson's attorney Norman Wilber of Mountain Home asked the court to reduce his client's bond to $50,000 and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kerry Chism argued that the half million bond should be left as is.
The 19-year-old Anderson of Bexar is charged with a number of drug-related offenses including the possession and delivery of methamphetamine and delivery of hydrocodone. Anderson was arrested after control buys were made by a confidential informant working with law enforcement in September and October of last year. At the time of last week's hearing, Anderson had been in the Baxter County Detention Center for 90 days.
Wilber told the court that while the state portrayed Anderson as "the biggest doper around", he is charged with selling only an "8 ball" of methamphetamine and five hydrocodone pills which the defense attorney said did not warrant the half million dollar bond. Wilber said that Anderson faces more numerous and more serious charges in Izard County and that the bond set in that county was $100,000.
Chism said officers had been investigating Anderson for about a year and he told the court that he had no doubt that if Anderson's bond was reduced and he was set free, he would sell drugs again. Chism said Anderson had given false names to law officers which, he said, "is what a drug dealer does".
During last week's bond hearing, Chism played a CD which showed the alleged sale of drugs to the confidential informant by Anderson taken by a camera operated by the informant. The transaction took place in a room at the Lake Norfork Inn. On the CD, Anderson can be seen holding a large plastic bag with a white substance in it. Anderson is alleged to have identified the substance as a half pound of what was assumed to be methamphetamine.
Mountain Home police officer Chris Steele who was involved in the investigation of Anderson said the substance in the baggie had not been taken or tested by law enforcement officers. Wilber asked if it was accurate to say that officers only knew what the substance in the baggie was represented to be and not what it actually was and Steele agreed.
Wilber said a half million bond represented what he termed an overreaction on the part of the Prosecuting Attorney's office. The half pound of alleged methamphetamine most likely represents a "smart alec kid bragging about what he had, rather than actually having it."
Chism said the tape leaves little doubt as to what Anderson does for a living and that if he was released on bond there is a very high probability that he would return to selling drugs.
Wilber told the court last week that Anderson would be willing to wear an ankle monitor and that he would live with his mother in Bexar. Chism said the fact that he would live with his mother did not alter the state's strong opposition to a bond reduction since all of Anderson's arrests have come while he was living with her. Chism told the court the living arrangement "won't help, there is apparently no supervision".
Wilber reminded the court that Anderson is charged with dealing only a small amount of drugs and that law officers were not sure if the large quantity of the white substance in the baggie Anderson displayed on the tape was actually methamphetamine or not since it was not taken nor tested. He told the court that Anderson's bond should more accurately reflect the charges against him.
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