Following three different hearings over the bond for accused murder suspect Jimmy Brian Blackmon, Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Judge Meng Lim ordered another change to the amount of money and the way it can be paid for bail and now provides a pathway for the family to post the cost.
In a five page order sent out this morning, Judge Lim ruled that Blackmon’s bond be increased to $300,000 and be allowed to post based on real property, straight cash or via a bondsman who would be able to cover the amount.
Blackmon, who has remained in jail for more than 160 days since his arrest in late October following the shooting death of his wife Ginger and then went on an eight-day run from law enforcement before being apprehended in Carroll County on his father’s property.
Lim additionally cited in his ruling that the policies provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office over the past several times that Blackmon’s family have organized efforts to get him out of jail was part of his reasoning for the changes. Specifically, the question over whether Blackmon’s bond be posted via real property – as both District Attorney Jack Browning and Sheriff Johnny Moats have requested previously – and the requirements behind what is allowed and not for those seeking to get out of jail on murder charges has been inconsistent.
In the second to final paragraph of the ruling, Judge Lim wrote about the issue:
“Since then, the Defendant has informed the Court that the Sheriff would permit him to post bond if the Court changes the bail from real property to professional bondsman. Yet, in court, the Sheriff informed the Court that the Defendant may post bond if the form of bail is real property. What form of bail should the Court grant under these circumstances? When should the Court rely on evidence received in bail bond hearings? How does the Defendant rely upon information received from the Sheriff’s Office?”
Lim did not modify any other part of Blackmon’s bail conditions, which include house arrest at his residence on Rice Road where the crime took place, GPS ankle monitoring he’ll have to pay for, and having no contact with a number of individuals listed in the original bond order.
Read the full ruling in the five pages available below:
The increase to $300,000 would likely be impossible based on the ruling’s overview of the bond decisions thus far in property or cash, but a bondsman will likely be able to cover that cost. The family will have to put up $30,000 to a professional bondsman and pay for any fees, but thus far as of this posting, Blackmon remained in the Polk County Jail. Information hadn’t yet been updated in the jail’s online portal for inmate search as to the increase in his bond amount.
Browning said in a brief statement he remains in opposition to any bond for Blackmon.
“I continue to disagree with the court setting bond in any amount, given the defendant’s actions prior to his arrest,” Browning said. “He went on the run, intentionally eluding law enforcement for eight days, across multiple jurisdictions which resulted in manpower costs of trying to find and apprehend him. It also drove fear and concern within those communities where he hid from police, all the while knowing there were active warrants for his arrest for the murder of his wife. While the court disagrees, I can think of no more compelling evidence of a person being a flight risk.”
Blackmon was charged in his October 26 arrest for murder, possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies, cruelty to children, and influencing witness.
He’s accused of the shooting death of his wife Ginger on Sunday evening, October 18 at their Rice Road home. He then fled from law enforcement for eight days, which took law enforcement across four counties and caused a lockdown at Rockmart Middle and Rockmart High Schools during the manhunt when it was reported he was spotted back at his home.
Bail in his case back last November was originally set at $500,000, and Blackmon’s family attempted to utilize both the Rice Road and Carroll County property his father owns and where Blackmon was found by law enforcement to post the cost. When that failed, it was reduced to $100,000, which brought up the issue of using a transfer bond and brought about a Mandamus hearing which ultimately required Judge Lim to rule a third time on bail.
Check back for additional updates on the case as they become available.