Accused murderer forced to stay put

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

NATCHEZ — The man arrested last week in connection with the shooting death of a Natchez teenager won’t be allowed to bond out of jail until after the victim’s funeral.

Municipal Court Judge Jim Blough set bond for Kelvin Mitchell, 26, at $75,000 for the charge of murder and $40,000 for a charge of aggravated assault.

To determine the bond Blough said he considered the individual situation.

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“This was not charged as capital murder,” Blough said. “(A bond of) $75,000 seemed to be a reasonable bond, based on the defendant and his circumstances. It was just a combination of factors.”

Mitchell is charged with shooting and killing Timothy O’Neal, 19, late Sunday night.

He is also charged with shooting Daniel Holt, 30, in the arm and hand. Holt was in the car with O’Neal and Mitchell reportedly shot them as they drove by.

“(This bond) is on the high side for cases I’ve been involved with,” Blough said.

There is no cut-and-dry method for setting bonds for those arrested on felony charges, a local judge said Wednesday.

Blough said he first consults a bond schedule, a kind of guideline with ranges for what bonds would normally be.

“It depends on the circumstances of the case and other factors involved,” Blough said. “It can be higher or lower than that. I go to the schedule first and then make a determination.”

If someone is charged with capital murder, the most severe bond situation would be no bond at all, he said.

“The seriousness of the crime and the risk of the defendant not coming back to court if he’s released — if he’s a flight risk” plays into the decision, Blough said.