A preliminary hearing was held Friday morning in Christian District Judge Foster Cotthoff’s courtroom on the July 4 Hazel Street murder case, which was ultimately forwarded to be heard by the Christian County Grand Jury.
The suspect accused in the murder, Leon Grimes, 49, appeared in Cotthoff’s court along with his private defense attorney Ted Shouse.
Grimes is accused of shooting and killing Calvin Buckner, 28, at a party in the early morning hours of July 4.
As the hearing began, Christian County Assistant Attorney Katherine Foster called Hopkinsville Police Detective Jason Sears to the stand to testify on what evidence had been accrued against Grimes.
Sears shared that during the early morning of July 4, Buckner and the girlfriend of Grimes were in an argument on a sidewalk when Grimes came over to the two and intervened in the argument.
“At that time, Mr. Grimes had showed up and kind of intervened and what witnesses stated is Grimes shot Mr. Buckner,” Sears said to the court.
Sears added that after Grimes allegedly shot Buckner, the party had dispersed, which meant officers had to ask around the area for witnesses to come forward with what had occurred.
Sears added that initially, he did not interview any witnesses after arriving at the scene as officers were attempting to provide first aid to Buckner.
Foster then asked Sears if he had interviewed Grimes regarding the incident, to which he stated he did not, but was aware of what Grimes had said during his interview with detectives.
“Mr. Grimes did state that he was there at that incident and intervened with (Grimes’ girlfriend) and Mr. Buckner,” Sears said. “He stated that he did not shoot Mr. Buckner.”
After questioning from Foster, Sears also confirmed that Buckner had a firearm on his person, but when police arrived on the scene, the gun was holstered.
Sears stated that witnesses eventually came forward to identify Grimes as the shooter in the incident, which prompted Shouse to request Sears to reveal who the witnesses were.
“I’ve heard a lot about 200 people, 15 to 20 people, officers this, officers that, ‘we had to ask folks questions’ — who says Mr. Grimes shot Mr. Bucker,” Shouse said to Sears.
Foster objected to the question and requested that the court protect the safety of the witnesses by not providing their names in public court.
Shouse argued that the prosecution did not provide any evidence to directly show Mr. Grimes was the shooter in the incident.
“Judge, they have not put on anything other than this fella was shot and (Grimes) was there,” Shouse said. “If we stop now, we don’t have probable cause … It’s a probable cause hearing. Who says he did it? They could’ve just as easily testified that I did it. Who says he did it?”
Cotthoff intervened and asked Sears if there were in fact witnesses who came forward and identified Grimes as the shooter. Sears confirmed that there were and stated that there were three witnesses who identified the defendant as the shooter.
Cotthoff then assured that the defense would receive the information on who those witnesses were, but their names were not to be revealed in court Friday morning.
Sears also confirmed through questioning by Shouse that Buckner had been shot through and through and that the bullet was not recovered from the scene.
Sears added that Grimes did voluntarily turn himself into the police department when he was wanted for questioning in regards to the murder.
Shouse also asked Sears if there was any video footage recovered of the event, to which he said there had not been at this time.
Following the questioning of Sears by both Foster and Shouse, Cotthoff ultimately found probable cause that a felony was committed and forwarded the case to be heard by the Grand Jury, who will decide whether or not to indict Grimes on his charges in this case.
Cotthoff also set Grimes’ bond at $500,000.
Grimes is currently charged with one count of murder.
According to New Era archives, Grimes was arrested at 2:45 a.m. July 8 and was served a warrant a short time later while at the Christian County Jail at around 3:15 a.m.
According to his warrant, Grimes “with the intent to cause the death of Calvin Buckner did cause his death by shooting him in the chest.”
Grimes had previously been brought into the police department to be questioned by police, but had not been charged or arrested at the time.
As previously reported, Buckner was shot in the chest just before 4 a.m. on July 4 during a party at the 2000 block of Hazel Street.
Buckner was transported to Jennie Stuart Health for treatment, where he later died from his gunshot-related injuries.