The $20,000 bond set for Cortez Waller, who was arrested and charged with first-degree murder following last week’s fatal shooting outside the Conway Police Department, was set according to the bond schedule, Conway Chief of Police A.J. Gary said.
The bond schedule is a list of bonds based on charge classification that is used as a guideline for booking purposes.
First-degree murder is considered a Class Y felony. According to the bond schedule, all Class Y felonies receive a $20,000 bond.
“Any change or update to the bond is done by the judge or prosecuting attorney,” Gary said. “We go by the bond schedule, because we can’t have arresting officers setting the bond at whatever they want.”
Investigators presented their preliminary findings on Friday during a probable cause hearing, however, official charges were not filed until Monday morning.
“The investigation wasn’t anywhere near done,” 20th Judicial District Marcus Vaden said. “We have to have as much information as we can to make the proper charging decision. We have to have sufficient evidence to prove the charge.
“In some situations, people want to rush the charges,” Vaden said. “Until we know for sure what we’ve got, we have to take the time to look at everything.”
According to Gary, the bond could have been changed at any time following the probable cause hearing.
“There was plenty of opportunities to change the bond,” Gary said. “Bond can even be changed after fact. We make the arrest, we investigate the crime, then we hand it over to the judge and the prosecuting attorney.”
Vaden said he was unaware that the $20,000 bond had been set and expected Waller to be present for his scheduled first appearance in front of Circuit Judge David Reynolds on Monday afternoon.
Vaden said he did not feel the bond was sufficient and would have asked for a much higher amount, probably between $750,000 and $1 million.
Waller posted bond Monday before his first appearance, which was scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
According to the Faulkner County Circuit Clerk’s office, no official court dates have been set for Waller.
Waller was officially charged with first degree murder and aggravated assault Monday following the fatal shooting of Christopher Childress Thursday outside the Conway Police Department.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Waller could face 10-40 years or up to life in prison. A conviction on the aggravated assault charge, a Class D Felony, could result in up to six years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, Vaden said.
Waller allegedly shot and killed Childress Thursday after a disturbance in the police station’s Front Street parking lot. According to CPD Public Information Officer Chris Harris, Childress followed Waller to the police station after the two crossed paths in town.
Harris said Waller and Childress’ fiancee, DeRanda Carter, recently had a relationship, but officials were getting conflicting information on when the relationship ended.
(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)