Because the state is considering seeking the death penalty for Yolanda Dee Thompson, she must remain in jail for now.
Circuit Judge John C. Hayes III issued an order Wednesday denying bond for Mrs. Thompson, who is accused of working together with her husband, Pernell, to murder 16-year-old Marisha Jeter on Jan. 3. The Thompsons have been held in the Union County Jail since their arrest on Jan. 5; Pernell Thompson, 21, has not sought bond.
Mrs. Thompson's lawyer, Hattie Boyce, asked Hayes during a hearing Monday to set bond for Mrs. Thompson so the 19-year-old can return home to her child and continue her education. Several friends and family members spoke on Mrs. Thompson's behalf.
Family members of Miss Jeter, however, asked Hayes to deny bond.
16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett told Hayes during the hearing that potential aggravating circumstances that would allow the state to seek the death penalty were the kidnapping and physical torture of Miss Jeter. Brackett said he will review a court-ordered mental evualuation Mrs. Thompson underwent and talk with Miss Jeter's family members before making a decision.
Hayes' two-page order, filed in the Union County Clerk of Court's office, said South Carolina law does not provide for the setting of bail for a person charged with a capital offense.
“The posture of this case is that, although the state has not notified the defendant that it will seek the death penalty, the state has made it clear it is considering issuing such notice,” Hayes wrote. “Therefore, at this point, the court considers the charge against the defendant to fall in the category of a capital offense, i.e. the charge is murder.”
Hayes said he also found the release of Mrs. Thompson cannot be done with any assurance that she would appear for trial.
“One facing the penalty of death has no incentive to appear at trial and every incentive to avoid trial and the ultimate penalty of death,” Hayes also wrote. “I find the defendant is facing a capital offense and therefore is not entitled to the setting of bail.”
If the state does not seek the death penalty for Mrs. Thompson or if no decision is reached by Jan. 3, 2009 (the one year anniversary of the murder) Mrs. Thompson may ask again that bond be set.
The following cases were heard Wednesday in General Sessions Court:
George Carpenter, 111 Grove St., Jonesville, pleaded guilty to use of a vehicle without owner's consent, sentenced to a year in prison, sentence suspended to two years probation and Carpenter ordered to pay restitution of $1,700.
Donnie Malpass, 230 Haywood St., Buffalo, tried on two charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, found not guilty.