The jury trial of a man accused in the February shooting on South Vine and East Second streets was delayed a month due to both the defense and prosecution being in COVID-19 quarantine until next week.
Travis Mayes, 38, Cadiz, appeared in Judge John Atkins’ Circuit courtroom via Zoom while at the Christian County Jail while his defense attorneys Christian County Department of Public Advocacy Directing Attorney Doug Moore and public defender Erin Fleischmann both appeared via Zoom while in quarantine.
Christian County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Bolen, the prosecutor in the case, also appeared via Zoom while in quarantine.
Mayes’ jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 19.
Moore shared with the court that he and Fleischmann were ordered by the Christian County Health Department to continue quarantining until Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Bolen shared that she was told by CCHD to continue quarantining until Oct. 24.
As the court began discussing rescheduling the trial, Mayes requested that the court hold his trial via Zoom.
“I looked up, my family looked up, you can do a trial on Zoom,” Mayes said to the court. “There was one held last month in Marion County and another one held in Perry County.
“In this first wave (of the pandemic) my trial was postponed … but, you can’t keep blaming the pandemic when you got Zoom. You can have Zoom trials.”
Moore reiterated Mayes’ desire to hold a trial virtually to the judge and stated that he would be willing to discuss the practicality of doing so.
“There will be logistical details to work out, but I think they could be worked out though if we wanted to discuss it,” Moore said to the judge.
Mayes continued to argue that he shouldn’t be held in jail any longer because the lawyers in the case are in quarantine.
“There’s no reason why I should be in here this long if I can have a Zoom trial,” Mayes said. “You can do it, it says here the Supreme Court is doing it. If not, that’s abuse of power and my fourth amendment of due process.
“If I can be way over here at this jail and talk to y’all, then evidently you can have people in other places and do a Zoom trial. Why do I have to get punished?”
Moore added that if his case were to be rescheduled to a later date, the court could be in the same position it is now as he said COVID-19 positive cases continue to increase in the county.
Moore then requested that Mayes’ bond be reduced and he be allowed release prior to trial. He requested that the trial be rescheduled to some time in the new year.
“Our main position would be to let him out on bond with GPS monitoring and continue this case till it’s more safe to do so,” Moore said to Atkins.
Bolen argued against his release and reducing his bond based on his criminal past and the nature of his current charge.
“This crime involves a shooting in which a person was shot here in Christian County,” she said. “Mr. Mayes does have a bond. He has been convicted of 13 felonies. His bond is commensurate with the charge of assault in the first-degree in which he had indicted on and it’s commensurate with his past criminal history.
“And, the fact that Mr. Mayes was just released from prison nine months prior to this shooting and the fact that he is on probation and parole and was on supervision and lives outside of Christian County, did not deter Mr. Mayes from coming to Christian County and shooting someone.”
Since Mayes has yet to have a trial, he is still innocent of the crime unless proven guilty in court.
Bolen added that Mayes’ right to a speedy trial had not been violated because of the pandemic causing the court to be shut down for several months.
Both Moore and Mayes argued that Mayes has never missed a court appearance and that he doesn't intend to miss one if he were to be released.
“If he lives in Cadiz with his mother and he’s on GPS monitoring and he’s barred from Christian County except for his trial date, I don’t think there’s any risk to the community,” Moore said to the judge.
After hearing both arguments, Atkins denied reducing Mayes’ bond, agreeing with Bolen that he presents a risk of danger to the community. His bond is set at $50,000.
He then proposed that the court schedule a new trial date for Nov. 5 and 6.
“The attorneys can decide how they want to proceed — if you want to do it as a Zoom trial, that’s up to you Mr. Moore, but if you want your client here in the courtroom with you or if you want to be in the courtroom that’s acceptable to the court,” Atkins said.
Moore said he was agreeable to rescheduling the trial for November, but requested that the court find a way for him to be able to speak confidentially with Mayes during the trial.
Moore argued that currently with social distancing requirements in place within the courtroom and the current jail conditions, there is no way to have confidential conversation with Mayes.
“We can talk to him through glass on a phone that they say is not recorded, I don’t know if I believe that or not, but regardless, only one of us can talk to him at a time,” Moore said. “We can communicate over their completely inadequate video chat feature they have, where the video sometimes works, but it doesn’t matter because the defendant would be in the cell with his cellmates and all of them could be listening to his entire conversation.”
Moore continued to share that he could request to bring Mayes to the courthouse itself, but said the bailiff escorting him stands outside of the room they would be in and refuses to shut the door to allow them privacy.
“Right now, we have 0% confidential communication with our client, zero ability and we’re going to need some help, I think, from the court in obtaining that,” Moore said.
Atkins ultimately scheduled his trial for Nov. 5 and 6 and told Moore that he would have to contact Christian County Jailer Brad Boyd to figure out a way he can have confidential conversations with Mayes.
According to New Era archives, Mayes is accused of shooting Derrell Bateman at around 2 p.m. Feb. 17.
Hopkinsville Public Information Officer Mike Atkins said officers who were in the area heard the shots around 2 p.m. and found Bateman at the scene with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Hopkinsville EMS took Bateman to Jennie Stuart Health where he was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
According to the arrest warrant for Mayes, Bateman identified Mayes as the shooter.
Mayes is charged with first-degree assault.