Boot Camp Update

By: Candace White Email
By: Candace White Email

The last of the eight defendants in the Martin Lee Anderson case made her first court appearance at noon Wednesday.

The former boot camp Nurse, Kristin Schmidt turned herself in on aggravated manslaughter charges late Tuesday night.

Schmidt appeared before Circuit Court Judge Dedee Costello Wednesday for a bond hearing.

Judge Costello set her bond at the same amount as her co-defendants: $25,000 dollars.

The state Department of Health is also reviewing the Anderson case to see if Schmidt’s involvement warrants the loss of her medical license.

Even though the seven former drill instructors and the nurse have been charged and court proceedings have started, attorneys say it could easily be a year before the case sees the inside of a courtroom.

Schmidt and the seven former boot camp drill instructors are each charged with one count of aggravated manslaughter.

However, if the case goes to trial, the outcome may not be the same for each defendant. Because a video tape of the incident exists, some of the defendants could ask for separate trials.

Instead of aggravated manslaughter, some could face culpable negligence.

Public Defender Walter Smith explains, "They have to prove in either instance that this conduct was so outrageous as to be basically a total disregard for the life of another human being."

Most of the eight are probably first-time offenders, so if they're convicted, they may not face the same amount of prison time, which could be as much as 30-years, which could be enough to push some of the defendants into making deals.

"Homicide cases are hard to make deals in because there's nothing you can plea to that's not gonna’ require some kind of a prison sentence," explains Smith.

The minimum for aggravated manslaughter is 13-years in prison.

However, under a plea agreement, a defendant can receive less than the minimum.

None of the defense attorneys have expressed an interest in moving the trial out of Bay County.

All eight defendants will be arraigned January 18th.


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