Madison County Bridge Burning Suspect Released on Reduced Bond

WINTERSET, Iowa  --  One of the men accused of burning a Madison County bridge had his day in court on Monday. 

Joel Davis, 18, made his arraignment appearance at the county courthouse in Winterset. Davis is charged with multiple offenses including 2nd degree arson and 1st degree criminal mischief for his alleged role in burning the bridge.  

On Monday, his defense team asked the court to reduce Davis’ $20,000 bond and release him from jail until his trial date. This would allow him to complete his senior year of high school.

"He has been doing his homework. The judge allowed him to have his books from school. Graduation has been set for May 27th, so I think with the family here and reduction of the bond, he'll be able to get that done,” said Alfredo Parrish, Davis’ defense attorney.

Parrish also argued Davis should be granted that request because of his client’s high character and strong family structure.

“This young man has demonstrated in his past life up until 18 years of age and the family support he has, the fact that he has never lived anywhere else. The fact that he intends to go into the military if he can work his way through this, he is a young man that should qualify for pretrial release,” said Parrish.

Matt Schultz, the county attorney on this case, says the court got it right with the $20,000 bond and it should not be lowered.

“He is facing serious charges here, your honor. The bridge had considerable value,” said Schultz. “To essentially release the defendant to go on pretrial release only and not require a bond, it would put the family, really, in a position where there is no accountability if the defendant doesn’t show.”

Schultz read over the evidence submitted for Davis and disagrees with Parrish’s assessment about the defendant’s family.

“All of the things Mr. Parrish articulately stated regarding the defendant and his support system at home were in place at the same time when this crime occurred,” say Schultz.

District court judge Terry Rickers heard both sides before reaching a decision. 

“If the family can post $1,500 cash with the clerk of court, I will allow the defendant, Mr. Davis, to be released,” said Rickers.

Upon his release, Davis is expected to have no further law violations, attend school full time, and not violate curfew. His next court appearance will be June 5th and his trial is expected to begin on July 18th. The family posted the $1,500 and Davis is expected to be released by the end of the day Monday.