FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Northwest Arkansans are concerned after a man charged with attempted murder walks free on bail. Several attorneys in the area said a $5,000 bond isn’t typical for an attempted murder case, but one charged man is free on that amount.
“This man…it’s only one out of hundreds,” said Butch Pond, a Washington County Justice of the Peace. “I’m not sure people should be overly worried or afraid. You just need to be careful.”
Lionel Thomas, 21, spent two days at the Washington County Jail after he was arrested and charged with a slew of drug charges and attempted murder. Fayetteville Police said Thomas nearly shot one of its officers when it joined the Drug Task Force (DTF) in executing a search warrant Sept. 13. The DTF believed there were drugs and guns in the home, both of which were found.
“A Fayetteville officer missed being shot in the face by just inches,” said Cpl. Tiffney Lindley of the Fayetteville Police Dept.
Lindley said she’s proud of the officers who were involved and how they handled a life-threatening situation, especially the one who was narrowly missed by the bullet.
“For us well-trained officers, which this officer was, he continued to do his job,” Lindley said. “He did what he had to do.”
Circuit Judge Joanna Taylor signed off on the $5,000 bond, and Thomas was released Sunday. A KNWA reporter reached out to Taylor for comment but did not receive a timely response by the time of this story’s publication.
“Because it’s a pending case, I can’t really comment on the nature of offense or really much about the bond,” said Matt Durrett, Washington County’s prosecuting attorney. “If they’ve got no prior criminal history, if they’re local, if they’re not a flight risk, a danger to the public, it’s [typically] gonna be a low bond or no bond at all.”
Pond said Thomas has the same legal rights as other Americans and hopes the punishment fits the crime.
“He’s gonna go to trial,” Pond said. “I’m confident that the policemen that he shot at, they’ll be good witnesses. He’s gonna have to go to jail for a period of time.”
Thomas’ trial for the attempted murder charge is set for the morning of Oct. 11.