YOUNGSTOWN - Likening a $5 million bond to a "ransom," Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum on Wednesday said he is planning a bond hearing within the next two weeks for a man accused of killing an 8-year-old boy.
Krichbaum said he thinks the $5 million bond for Shawn Wilson, 21, of Browning Street, set in Youngstown Municipal Court, is too high.
''It's a ransom. It's not a bond,'' Krichbaum said.
Krichbaum also said Wilson is likely to go on trial sometime in mid-January in the death of Bryce Linebaugh, 8, who was killed Aug. 20 by a bullet fired from an assault rifle. Wilson could get the death penalty if he is convicted of Linebaugh's death.
Wilson and his attorneys, Ron Yarwood and Ed Hartwig, appeared before Krichbaum for a status conference a day after Wilson was arraigned on several charges, including aggravated murder with death penalty specifications.
Krichbaum said bond is supposed to guarantee appearance at trial, although he said any bond Wilson might receive would still be ''significant'' because there is a risk he would flee because he could get the death penalty.
The judge also said he would give defense lawyers all the time necessary to prepare a defense for a death penalty case but that he does not want the case to drag on. He set a timetable of six months to have the case tried.
Yarwood said he anticipates calling several expert witnesses, especially if a jury finds Wilson guilty of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications. Should that happen, a second phase of the trial, called mitigation, would commence, in which defense attorneys would have to present evidence to the jury as to why their client's life should be spared.
Typically, expert witnesses for the defense often testify in that phase of a trial.
Police say Wilson got into an argument earlier in the evening with his ex-girlfriend and threatened to shoot up her home. They say he fired several rounds from an assault rifle and one of the rounds struck Linebaugh in the head while he was sleeping in a neighboring apartment.
Officers found the gun they believe was used in the crime. Wilson was on probation for a previous weapons conviction.