Attorneys for Matthew Andrew Adams, the Owensboro man facing the death penalty in the 2018 strangulation death of a woman in her home, have filed a motion asking the presiding judge to release Adams from jail.
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, Adams’ public defenders are asking Adams’ bond to be set to “an amount he can make” so he can be released from the Daviess County Detention Center.
A bond hearing has been set for Thursday in Daviess Circuit Court, with attorneys appearing by video conference.
Adams, 28, who last had a Utica address prior to his July 3, 2018 arrest, was charged with murder, first-degree burglary, tampering with evidence and violation of a protective order in the death of Erica Owen, 25.
Officers went to Owen’s Placid Place home on July 3, after first responding to a report of a suicidal man at a home on Barron Drive. Owensboro Police Department reports say officers encountered Adams, who told officers that he might have killed Owen, OPD Public Information Officer Andrew Boggess said previously.
Adams had a prior relationship with Owen, which had been over for some time when Owen was killed. Adams is also facing charges of felony criminal mischief for allegedly causing vandalism damage at Owen’s home prior to the July incident.
Adams is currently being held without bond in the Daviess County Detention Center.
The bond motion was filed by defense attorneys Michel Bufkin and Eric Stovall. The motion says Adams has been assessed by pretrial services and is considered a low risk for not making future court dates. Adams was rated a moderate risk of new criminal activity, but the motion says pretrial rated Adams as having an “86.4% probability of remaining arrest-free prior to trial.”
The motion says: “To require Mr. Adams to stay in custody puts him at substantially greater risk of contracting COVID-19” because he potentially could be exposed to people with the virus in jail, and because “he would be better able to safeguard his health by practicing social distancing in the community.”
Adams has asthma which makes him “more vulnerable to COVID-19,” the motion says.
“Mr. Adams shares a communal bathroom, including a toilet, sink and shower,” the motion says. “He must eat off of trays, shower in stalls, wash his hands in sinks, use toilets and telephones that many other inmates also use, all without proper sanitation measures recommended by the (Centers for Disease Control), because they are not available to him.”
Daviess County Jailer Art Maglinger previously said inmates have access to cleaning materials in the jail and that surfaces are routinely cleaned.
The defense requests that Adams be released to live with family members, on “narrowly tailored” conditions, and say Adams could be monitored electronically.
The defense also argues that holding Adams on no bond is excessive and that the charges do qualify for bail. The motion says Adams’ family could put up some cash or property for his bond.
Adams’ trial date is currently set for October and is expected to last two weeks.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse