No decision has yet been made in the latest request from attorney Christopher Twyman to get his client out of jail on bond following a new hearing over the matter this afternoon.
Blackmon, Twyman and District Attorney Jack Browning all appeared before Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Meng Lim to determine whether the man accused of the murder of his wife and other charges should be able to have the conditions of his bond changed once again, this time to fall in line with a previous mandamus ruling in a civil matter between Blackmon and Sheriff Johnny Moats over his bond.
In today’s hearing, Twyman argued for his client that his client’s only real legal remedy and way to get out of jail was to change the conditions of the bond to allow for surety – the requirement that someone will force Blackmon to return to court for future hearings and ultimately his trial – be handled by a bondsman and not be required to post property that can’t be used by the Sheriff’s Office as a guarantee of the bond.
Blackmon’s bond had previously been set at $500,000 on murder and other charges for the shooting death of his wife Ginger Leanne Green Blackmon last year.
Twyman told the court Blackmon’s family sought to get him out on that amount back in November but were unsuccessful. The amount of bond for one company locally was too much to handle, and so the defense requested and got a reduction with a caveat: the bond orders that Blackmon’s father put up his real property in Carroll County as collateral.
However, that collateral wasn’t accepted by the Sheriff’s Office despite the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office posting a transfer bond on behalf of his father’s property. That’s what ultimately set up the mandamus hearing in March: whether the Sheriff is required to take the transfer bond and let Blackmon out of jail, or if he had the right to deny it as Moats asserted during the hearing in his own defense.
Superior Court Judge Mark Murphy, who oversaw the matter instead of Judge Lim, ruled that because Blackmon still had a legal remedy in this hearing to have bond conditions changed, the mandamus order was denied.
In court today, Twyman made the point that if the conditions of the bond were changed to allow for a bondsman to post the required amount in cash locally, the family could meet it and his client be out of jail months after his original bond was set at $500,000. Twyman argued his client would essentially have no bond if Judge Lim doesn’t rule in their favor.
“We will in effect have a bond granted to Mr. Blackmon on paper,” Twyman said. “But for all practical purposes, the court might as well deny bond.”
Browning stood firm in his previous position: “I don’t believe the bond should have been granted, and I don’t think it should be reduced.”
He also argued that by changing the conditions of the bond, Blackmon would have no one but the bondsman – who would then have to track him down if he ran – would be required to ensure that the defendant returns to court when required to do so.
“In a case like this it is appropriate to ask that bon be posted as real property as opposed to using a bondsman,” Browning explained.
He wanted the real property to be required so as to ensure someone like a friend or family member essentially has “skin in the game” and will be more likely to keep Blackmon in place.
Browning also revealed – but did not elaborate – on jailhouse conversations recorded that include his father and a man named “Gary” who he asked to move his truck into hiding since it was being sought for repossession.
He didn’t want to get into any potential criminal liabilities Blackmon might face for those conversations, but did say that it is an example of Blackmon’s mindset about whether he might try to hide himself.
Blackmon did go on an 8-day run from the law and ended up being discovered and taken into custody at his father’s property in Carroll County, the same property he is using to try to get his son out of jail on the $100,000 transfer bond.
Conditions of his bond that would have to remain in place if he were to get out if the order is changed include house arrest, ankle monitoring he’d have to pay for, and keeping away from a number of people while awaiting trial. Blackmon would be required to stay in the same home where Blackmon’s wife Ginger died in late October 2020.
Judge Lim did not issue a decision following the brief hearing held on Zoom while he sat in Polk County Courthouse No. 1 this afternoon.
Check back for more on a decision as soon as it becomes available.