Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 25, 2014

Bond goes up in murder case — A Garvin County murder case appears to be heating up as questions being looked at range from the defendant’s bond to his right to a speedy trial.

At the top of the list this week was a state’s request to increase the bond for 30-year-old Brandon Shane Christian of Elmore City.

Christian is facing a second-degree murder charge on the allegation he caused the beating injuries that resulted in the death of his girlfriend Desiree Hill last summer.

It was originally an assault charge before it went to murder after Hill died on June 27, 2013.

Prosecutors argued the bond for Christian, currently set at $25,000 after dropping from the original $500,000 last year, was far too low for a murder case.

During a hearing Monday in a Pauls Valley courtroom, defense claims centered on the state’s “weak” case keeping Christian in jail for a long period of time before he even gets to a trial.

In the end it was District Judge Greg Dixon who had the final say, ordering Christian’s bond to be increased to $75,000 with a couple of conditions added on if the defendant is ever to post bond and be released.

Leading the state’s push were District Attorney Greg Mashburn and Corey Miner, an assistant district attorney here in Garvin County.

“The seriousness of the charge should be taken into account here,” Miner said. “The seriousness of this crime is at the top of all charges.

“The state alleges a murder occurred. There is no more serious of a crime than murder,” he said.

“A life was taken and proof of guilt is great in this instance.

“The states asks for this court to establish an appropriate bond for a murder case.”

In fact, Miner called the current bond “woefully inadequate” as he and Mashburn asked for Christian’s bond to be raised to $250,000.

Defense attorney Dee Graves zeroed in to counter a number of the state’s points, including the claim Christian might be a risk to flee Garvin County and the charges if he’s ever released before facing a jury.

“He doesn’t have the funds to make an escape from lawful custody a reality,” Graves said.

Another is the state’s overall case against his client.

“I feel like they got through that preliminary hearing by the skin of their teeth,” Graves said, referring to the February proceeding resulting in Christian being bound over to face a jury on the murder charge.

“Evidence in this case is slim and circumstantial,” he said. “Their proof is not great.”

After his order to increase the bond, Dixon made it clear Christian can request to have the bond lowered back to $25,000 if he can ever prove a GPS ankle monitor has been installed at a location where he would be staying when released.

Once the order was given Graves pushed to have his motion heard on the defendant’s right to a speedy trail, specifically his trial being placed on next month’s docket rather than the September date now scheduled.

Mashburn argued that simply isn’t enough time to prepare for a trial.

“We’re going to do more DNA testing, obtain a report from our domestic abuse expert and do a crime scene investigation,” Mashburn said to the judge.

Graves objected to the state having more time to build a case while his client is forced to stay behind bars with an even higher bond total.

Dixon denied the motion as an April 11 hearing has been scheduled to look at the possibility of holding Christian’s trial in late May.

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