The girlfriend of a man charged with killing his neighbor in late May last year appeared in Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday to push her request to drop a no contact order so she can reestablish communications with him.
She was partially successful. At the end of a half-hour hearing, Circuit Judge John Putman did modify the no contact order slightly to allow the couple to speak on the telephone.
The judge refused to permit person-to-person contact, even if supervised.
In addition to a manslaughter charge, 27-year-old Jonathan Robert Mauldin of Mountain Home is also accused of 3rd degree domestic battery for allegedly pushing the girlfriend into a door as he tried to move away from police on the night of the shooting incident .
A no contact order was one of the conditions of Mauldin’s bond. The girlfriend/victim filled out a statement with the prosecutor’s office asking for the order to be dropped in June last year.
She writes that she was attempting to restrain Mauldin and get him to cooperate with the police when he “shrugged me off his back.” She further claims, “The incident was not what it appeared to be.”
The girlfriend wrote in her statement that she was not injured by Mauldin’s actions.
She also wrote a letter to the court regarding her request to drop the no contact order with basically the same message.
The girlfriend, 25-year-old Mary Alice Guiest, took the stand during the hearing Thursday. She testified Mauldin did have a drinking problem, but had been in rehabilitation for about 11 months to deal with the addiction.
She told the court she had never felt threatened by Mauldin during the two years they had been “partners.” Guiest admitted that Mauldin “would yell at me when he was drinking, but never got physical.”
Guiest testified that “our relationship has not been a walk in the park, but I care deeply about him.”
Mauldin has been enrolled in Changes Recovery in Mountain Home for almost a year. Chris Caststeel, director of the program, said Mauldin had been making “excellent progress” and “is doing everything we have asked of him.”
Caststeel said Mauldin was often put in charge of community service work crews, demonstrating the level of trust he had earned.
Mauldin lives at the Changes Recovery facility. Caststeel said those in the program are subject to “surprise” drug tests and the facility also tests for alcohol consumption.
Caststeel said Mauldin had been “clean and sober” for months. He said Changes Recover “has a zero tolerance policy.” He said if participants ran afoul of the rules, that person “would be kicked out of the program, would go back to jail.”
Mauldin was also charged with terroristic threatening stemming from profanity-laced threats he is alleged to have made to police who responded to the incident.
During Thursday’s hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Kerry Chism played a tape of bodycam footage taken by police the night of the shooting. Mauldin is shown to have been in a very intoxicated and hysterical state.
He was screaming profanity-laced statements, ordering police out of his apartment and resisting effort to take him into custody.
After additional investigation, including an autopsy on the neighbor’s body, the more serious manslaughter charge was filed in late October 2020.
Jordan Tinsley of the Little Rock law firm of Tinsley and Youngdahl represents Mauldin.
Tinsley filed a formal motion with the court to drop the no contact order in late March. Judge John Putman initially denied it.
The judge did note that if the defense wanted a hearing on the matter, one would be arranged.
According to court records, two bonds have been posted in Mauldin’s case. The first bond was for $25,000 and was issued July 6.
After Mauldin was arrested on the manslaughter charge, a second bond was issued for $50,000 late last month.
The same bail bond company wrote both bonds now totaling $75,000.
At the time the manslaughter charge was added, Prosecutor David Ethredge said the evidence gathered at the scene, and information provided by the autopsy clearly indicated the charge was warranted.
According to the probable cause affidavit, MHPD officers were sent to the Quail Run Apartments last May in response to a report of a possible shooting involving neighbors.
When officers arrived, they found Mauldin lying in the breezeway. He was reported to have abruptly gotten up and “staggered to his apartment.”
Mauldin, who was described as extremely intoxicated, disregarded commands to halt and went toward a back bedroom. Police reported His girlfriend attempted to stop him.
Mauldin was alleged to have pushed his girlfriend into a door resulting in the domestic battering charge.
The body of the victim 67-year-old Jamie Sanders was found in his apartment. He was reported to have died from two gunshot wounds. His body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.
Details of what happened between Mauldin and Sanders to bring on the fatal encounter are not clear.
Mauldin is alleged to have told investigators he remembered being at Sander’s apartment drinking, but said he couldn’t recall anything related to the shooting itself.
Both Mauldin and Sanders were reported to have blood alcohol levels well above the legal limit.
Two handguns were recovered from Sanders’ apartment one belonged to Mauldin and one to the dead man.
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