Judge orders murder suspect’s release denying bond revocation motion

Photo: Baxter Stowers

The motion by the state to revoke the $200,000 bond of 18-year-old Baxter Stowers of Salesville has been denied by Circuit Judge Gordon Webb, and Stowers has been ordered released from the Baxter County jail.

Stowers is charged with the shooting death of 41-year-old Jeremy Wayne Alman of Salesville.

Stowers was booked into the Baxter County Detention Center Nov. 20 at 1:25 p.m., after the state filed for the bond revocation alleging he had failed a drug test.

Stowers posted a $200,000 bond on Oct. 14 on charges related to the shooting incident. Judge Webb notes in his ruling the bail bond company has agreed to maintain the bond.

Judge Webb also notes prosecutors object to his ruling.

During a court session on Nov. 13, an order was entered making it a condition of Stowers’ bond that he not use any controlled substances.

He was to be drug tested weekly.

According to a motion filed by Stowers’ attorney, Shane Wilkinson of Bentonville, the Salesville teen passed his first drug test taken on the day the order was issued.

The state alleged Stowers failed a second test taken on Nov. 20. The test is reported to have been positive for “THC/marijuana.”

Stowers’ attorney contended in his response to the state’s action that his client is “adamant” he has not consumed any amount of marijuana since the court’s Nov. 13 order.

Stowers’ attorney says the test used by the state does not provide adequate evidence to prove when his client consumed marijuana.

The state’s case for revocation of the bond hinges on whether the alleged consumption came after the court order was issued.

Wilkinson alleges in his response to the state’s motion to revoke the bond that more accurate testing would indicate the amount of THC detected.

That information is important, the defense attorney contends, to allow the court to be better informed as to whether Stowers recently consumed marijuana, or if trace amounts from a prior use were being detected.

Stowers’ attorney wrote that a total revocation of the $200,000 bond is unreasonable “for what – at most – can only be identified as a single incident of marijuana use.”

Wilkinson wrote in his response that the state “has fallen far short of proving when that amount was consumed.”

The defense attorney wrote Stowers had been allowed to post a bond and remain free pending trial on murder charges, “but, because he may or may not have consumed some marijuana, he is now a danger to the community.” Wilkinson called the conclusion “absurd.”

Prosecutors are keeping much of the information concerning the incident, including what might have motivated the killing, under wraps.

Stowers himself called 911 about 2 p.m. on Oct. 5 and reported he had shot and killed another male at an address along County Road 111.

When deputies arrived, they found Stowers waiting for them in the driveway with his hands up. He was described as wearing red and white Nike shoes, blue jeans and a St. Louis Cardinal logo shirt and to have been holding a wallet and cellphone in his hand.

Alman’s body was found lying on a concrete floor between the front entrance to the residence and a door leading to a screened-in porch.

He was reported to have a gunshot wound to the head just behind and over his left ear. In addition, investigators said there appeared to be a wound to the victim’s right arm.

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