‘This was a horrendous crime.’ Low bond, sentence denied woman, 24, in murder case

Caitlyn Conway
Caitlyn Conway

A co-defendant in a 2014 murder case will remain in jail after she asked a judge Monday to impose a sentence or a bondthat would allow for her release.

Caitlyn Conway, 24, had faced the prospect of the death penalty until April, when she pleaded guilty to lesser charges on the condition that she testify against a co-defendant at his 2018 trial.

Under the deal, Conway would not be sentenced until after she had testified against Demarcus Harris. He is accused of murder and robbery in the Oct. 5, 2014, shooting of Darnell Bates.

Bates, 36, was shot in his home in the 400 block of Addie Street when two men forced their way into the house. He died of a stomach wound.

Conway is an inmate in the Fayette County jail, “but wants to be able to do something to better herself,” said public defender Kim Green. If Conway was sentenced to state prison, she would be eligible for programs to do that, Green said.

In the alternative, Conway sought an affordable bond that would allow her to see her 2-year-old son who is now in the care of an aunt in Ohio.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Katie Bouvier said Conway, while in custody, had telephone contact with Harris, who is also in the Fayette County jail.

Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael Jr. said he appreciates Conway’s frustration, but “choices have consequences.”

According to a petition for a search warrant, a witness told police that Conway went to Bates’ home with him, and once inside the home she called Charles Bruce Patton III and Harris and let them inside. The two men fought Bates, and Bates was shot during the struggle, the document said.

Addressing Green, Ishmael said it is “totally unrealistic for me consider a surety bond in whatever amount. This was a horrendous crime.”

Ishmael said he didn’t know “what the odds are of ever seeing” Conway again if she were released before testifying.

In the end, Ishmael set a $250,000 full cash bond. Green said that Conway’s family would not be able to post that amount.

Conway was initially indicted on one count of murder, several counts of first-degree robbery, and burglary. She pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation to murder, and to some amended charges of robbery and burglary.

Harris, 24, is scheduled to go on trial in late April 2018. Patton, 24, has also pleaded guilty to amended charges and is expected to testify against Harris.