Defendents in Boot Camp Case Turn Themselves In

By: Sabrina Zimring Email
By: Sabrina Zimring Email

Two of the accused drill instructors turned themselves in early enough to make Tuesday’s 2PM first appearance.

It didn't appear the other five men had met that deadline, but at the last minute, Judge Glenn Hess held a second bond hearing just for the remaining five men.

Charles Helms, and Henry McFadden, two of the drill instructors facing a charge of aggravated manslaughter, appeared before Judge Elijah Smiley Tuesday.

Helms' family was present at his first appearance. They stood calm and quiet as Judge Smiley set their son's bond at $25,000 dollars.

McFadden’s bond was set at the same amount.

The five remaining drill instructors appeared in person in front of Judge Hess about 30-minutes later.

One by one, Judge Hess set their bond at $25,000 dollars, with the condition that they cannot leave the Bay County jurisdiction.

Tuesday morning we spoke with Charles Helm's Attorney, Waylon Graham.

Helm was the second in command of the camp and the ranking officer on the scene at the time of the incident.

Graham says the arrests were imminent. "I knew it was gonna’ happen, and I felt it would happen before the end of the year. When I saw the plaintiff expanding the civil lawsuit, I felt something was about to happen," he said Tuesday.

However, Graham insists his client and the other drill instructors have a strong case. He said the case is, "Excellent, I don't think any of these guards engaged in gross negligence they all relied upon the nurse to tell them what was going on. That's what they did, they followed her advice."

As for the trial itself, Graham says he believes it could be a year away.

He also says the findings could be different for each of the eight defendants, depending on their involvement and the way the jury interprets the evidence.

"In other words,” he says, “[There] could be a split decision. Sure, the jury could listen to all the evidence and go, ‘this individual is not guilty, and this individual is guilty’."

Most of the defendants will post bond and will be free until the trial.

Their next court date is set for January 18th.


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