Crime

3 charged in UK student’s death want a judge to reconsider bonds for their release from jail

Jonathan Krueger, who worked for the campus newspaper, was at a University of Kentucky game Jan. 20, 2015, when this picture was taken.
Jonathan Krueger, who worked for the campus newspaper, was at a University of Kentucky game Jan. 20, 2015, when this picture was taken.

Nearly a year after University of Kentucky student Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed, the three young men charged with murder in his death want new bonds set to get out of jail before trial.

Attorneys for Roman Gonzalez, 18, Justin Delone Smith, 19 and Efrain Diaz, 21 will argue before a judge Friday for “reasonable” bonds. The trio have been in jail since April.

Diaz and Smith don’t have bonds set on their murder charges. Gonzalez, who was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, had bond set at $1 million in July when the prosecution asked for at least $250,000 because of the crime’s violence.

Gonzalez’s attorneys emphasized that their client has been in jail without a trial for about 10 months.

An attorney for Smith highlighted her client and his family’s “extremely limited” financial ability and “very limited criminal history.” Smith’s attorney is asking for a $50,000 bond.

“While the defendant and his counsel freely acknowledge the serious nature of these charges, Mr. Smith is still entitled to a bond that is not oppressive,” the motion states.

Prosecutors couldn’t speak specifically about the Gonzalez, Diaz and Smith cases. But generally, the definition of “oppressive” is up to the legal interpretation of a judge, said assistant commonwealth’s attorney Andrea Williams. Williams will handle the cases Friday.

Defendants are allowed to ask the judge to change the conditions of release at any time before trial in Kentucky.

Diaz’s attorney told WKYT in December that Diaz and Smith could face the death penalty if convicted.

Krueger, the photo editor at UK’s student newspaper, and Aaron Gillette were walking home about 2 a.m. April 17 on East Maxwell Street near Transylvania Park when the defendants pulled up in a van, police said. All three were armed, according to police testimony in an earlier hearing. When Krueger and Gillette attempted to resist during the armed robbery, Krueger, 22, was shot multiple times while Gillette got away, police said.

Diaz and Smith have identified Gonzalez as the shooter, according to a detective’s testimony in an earlier hearing. Diaz said he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the shooting.

The vehicle was registered to Smith’s mother, and Gillette’s property taken during the robbery was found in Smith’s bedroom, according to police. Police also recovered a handgun that Smith acknowledged having thrown out of the van.

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Michael McKay: 859-231-1324, @hlpublicsafety

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