A Bell County judge on Monday set a bond of $100,000, for a Killeen man accused of sexually assaulting a child in 2009.
Wilfred Warren Sheppard, 54, was being held in the Bell County Jail on Tuesday after being arrested by U.S. Marshals and booked into jail on April 12.
During a prior hearing, on April 6, Judge John Gauntt issued a warrant for Sheppard’s arrest after the defendant did not show up for a string of hearings despite being notified.
Sheppard said that he was going to bond himself out, which prompted a warning from the judge.
“If you fail to appear in this court, I will set your bond aside because you have not so far done what is required of you: when you get called, you come to court like everybody else does,” Gauntt said.
During the hearing on Monday, the judge also dealt with issues of discovery, which is the process by which defense attorneys obtain the evidence from prosecutors that could be used during a trial.
“Would you like another opportunity to review anything that might be in the court’s file before we try this case?” Gauntt asked Sheppard, who is representing himself. “When you were first arrested, you were brought over from the jail and refused to look at anything the state had to show you.”
Sheppard again refused.
The state’s prosecutor, who was just assigned the case last year, wanted assurance that Sheppard was aware of the punishment range of a first-degree felony, which is 5-99 years, or life, in prison.
“I want to make sure that he has intelligently and knowingly waived his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney and that he’s ready to go forward,” said Assistant District Attorney Sandra Martin. “It’s troubling that I see that he has had more than one opportunity to have discovery. We have our witnesses and we’re ready to proceed.”
Sheppard also asked that the indictment be read to him aloud, as in a formal arraignment hearing, which the judge did.
“That’s the same indictment that you have been here on continuously since the date of the indictment (Oct. 15, 2014),” Gauntt said.
The alleged victim now is an adult, but she was younger than 14 years old in 2009 when police said that the sexual assault occurred, more than 11 years ago. She told police that Sheppard, whom she described as a family friend, assaulted her on Dec. 31, 2009, and then offered her $1,000 to keep quiet. The case began when the then-teenage girl made an outcry to a high school teacher that led to Sheppard’s arrest on the allegation.