Thursday, July 29, 2004

Judge rejects bond for murder suspect

Judge rejects bond for murder suspect

The Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - A judge has denied bond for a man awaiting trial in the killing of a Western Kentucky University student last year.

Special Judge Thomas Castlen ruled Wednesday that 22-year-old Lucas Goodrum will have to stay in jail until his trial, which is scheduled to begin March 8.

"This being a death penalty case and having found that the commonwealth has met its burden of showing the proof is evident or the presumption is great, the defendant is not entitled to bail," Castlen wrote.

Goodrum's attorney requested a bond hearing after his trial was pushed back from Friday to March while forensic tests are completed.

Goodrum, of Scottsville, was one of two men arrested for raping and killing WKU freshman Katie Autry in her dormitory room and setting her on fire in May 2003.

Stephen B. Soules, 21, of Scottsville also was arrested and charged in the case. Soules originally pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In March, in exchange for dropping the death penalty, Soules pleaded guilty to seven of the nine original charges, including murder, first-degree rape, rape by complicity, first-degree sodomy, sodomy by complicity, arson by complicity and first-degree robbery.

In making his decision, Castlen considered investigators' testimony and videotaped interviews with Soules and Goodrum, as well as interviews with former jail inmates who said Goodrum talked to them about the death.

Attorneys cannot comment on the case because of a gag order.

Goodrum's mother, Donna, called the judge's decision "terrible news" on a Web site she has posted claiming her son's innocence.

"We are devastated and see this as a violation of Lucas' constitutional rights," she said.

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