Bond modified in drug case
BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man who was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges will be placed on home confinement if he makes bond, Upshur County Circuit Court Judge Kurt Hall ruled Thursday.
Hall granted, in part, a defense motion to modify bond in the case of Ryan Keith Gillum, 36, who was arrested Oct. 17 on three felony counts of delivery of marijuana, a controlled substance. The arrest came after after deputies with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department allegedly seized 8 pounds of marijuana, $4,000, six firearms, three cellphones and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia from Gillum over a period of several months, Upshur County Sheriff David Coffman said at a press conference last week.
During Thursday’s bond reduction hearing in Upshur County Circuit Court, Hall changed Gillum’s bond from $75,000 cash-only and $75,000 corporate surety to $5,000 cash-only and $75,000 cash, property or surety.
His new bond totals $80,000, reduced by $70,000 from his original $150,000 bond.
Gillum is to immediately be placed on home confinement if he makes bond and will be required to undergo random drug and alcohol screenings through the Lewis-Upshur-Braxton Community Corrections program. Hall said Gillum must adhere to standard bond terms and conditions by refraining from drinking alcohol or ingesting any illegal drugs. Hall also said Gillum “is not to call or harass” any of the prosecution’s potential witnesses, including family members.
Gillum appeared with his attorney, James Hawkins, for the 3 p.m. hearing after Lewis County Magistrate Roger Clem denied a motion to modify bond earlier in the afternoon in Upshur County Magistrate Court.
“Our position is this bond ($75,000 cash-only and $75,000 corporate surety) is excessive, is oppressive and merely serves as no bail,” Hawkins told Hall. “Unless it’s a capital offense, (state code) requires reasonable bail to be set pretrial.”
Hawkins argued Gillum – who breeds dogs and owns rental units he is in the midst of refurbishing – has “significant roots to this community.”
“He has no prior felony convictions, absolutely none,” Hawkins said, “and no prior drug convictions. In full disclosure to the court, he has a conviction of battery and domestic
Hawkins said one of those convictions occurred at least a decade ago.
“This is not the type of case that cries out for such a bail, and I challenge anyone to present evidence showing he poses a risk to the community,” he added.
Hawkins asked the judge to modify bond to $15,000 cash, property or surety.
Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Jake Reger countered that Gillum’s case was “not an ordinary type of delivery case.” He said confidential informants working with the sheriff’s department had managed to purchase 5 pounds of marijuana from Gillum “with thousands of dollars involved” during three alleged transactions in October.
“There are also (federal) allegations of Mr. Gillum being involved in receiving a shipment of 100 pounds of marijuana,” Reger said. “I do have a concern for the safety of the community. I am concerned about there being retribution as it relates to government witnesses cooperating with the
Hall said he agreed with Hawkins “in principle.”
“For a magistrate to set a $75,000 cash-only bond is a denial of bond,” Hall said. “I don’t see how anyone could in good conscience rule any other way.”
But Hall also rejected Hawkins’ suggestion of a $15,000 cash-property-surety bond, calling it “wholly insufficient.”
“I’m going to craft a new bond, and $5,000 of it will be cash-only and $75,00 will be cash, corporate surety and the surety can also be property,” Hall said.
Hawkins requested that Gillum be permitted to leave home for work purposes – specifically to maintain rental units he owns – but the judge denied the request.
“I think he can find somebody to manage those properties for him,” the judge said.
As of presstime, Gillum remained incarcerated in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT-Kuba.