Judge orders fugitive's uncle to surrender cash, property bond

jkegley@herald-leader.comSeptember 10, 2012 

John Buckley

A Fayette County Circuit judge ordered the uncle of fugitive John Calvin Buckley IV to surrender a cash and property bond worth more than a quarter of a million dollars at a hearing Monday.

Charles Kelly Buckley, John Buckley's uncle, had paid $32,000 in cash and allowed the state to take out a lien on his business complex in Jessamine County worth at least $236,000 so his nephew could be released from jail pending trial in a rape case, according to court documents.

The cash and property bond was supposed to serve as a guarantee that John Buckley would be present at court hearings. However, John Buckley cut off a monitoring device and fled the state July 12, the last day of his trial on one count of rape, two counts of sodomy and other charges, according to police and court documents.

Buckley was accused of raping an ex-girlfriend and video recording the act, which was shown to jurors. The jury found him guilty on all counts.

John Buckley, a former Army Ranger, has not been seen since. His escape sparked a nationwide manhunt spearheaded by the Fayette County sheriff's office, Lexington police and U.S. Marshals.

At Monday's hearing, Charles Buckley, who did not have an attorney present, was given a chance to argue that the bond should not be forfeited. He told Judge Thomas Clark he felt the bond was "unreasonably high" to begin with, and said he repeatedly tried to contact John Buckley following his escape.

"I have made great efforts to contact my nephew. I have not been successful and continue to do so," he said.

John Buckley's bond had been set at $150,000, according to court documents. Charles Buckley paid $32,000 in cash. The remainder, $118,000, was covered by a property bond. (According to state law, the equity in the property must be equal to twice the cash amount of the bond, or $236,000 in Buckley's case.)

According to court documents, Charles Buckley posted as bond an office complex at 105 Wind Haven Drive in Nicholasville. The Office of the Secretary of State lists that address as the principal office of Charles Buckley's business, Spectrum Financial Alliance, a financial planning group.

Charles Buckley did not respond to a request for comment after the hearing.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Todd Bradbury, the lead prosecutor in the case against John Buckley, said the property will be forfeited to the state.

The $32,000 "will be seized immediately, and now we have to begin the process of moving against the property," Larson said after Monday's hearing.

Investigators from Lexington police, the Office of the Fayette County Sheriff and the U.S. Marshals were prepared to testify Monday, in case Charles Buckley had argued that his bond should not be forfeited because he was cooperating with authorities, prosecutors said.

"We have witnesses here to refute the assertion that he has been entirely cooperative with law enforcement," Bradbury told the judge.

However, no testimony was heard. Judge Thomas Clark ruled that the bond would be forfeited after listening to just a few minutes of arguments from Charles Buckley and Bradbury.

Clark said John Buckley's departure during his trial and the removal of his ankle monitor "demonstrated a willful intent" to avoid court proceedings, a violation of bond conditions.

"He has continued to absent himself from this courtroom," Clark said.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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