A Cole County judge has denied a motion filed by the public defender for a Jefferson City teenager accused of murder asking for his client to be released on bond as his case proceeds to a potential trial.
Online court records show Presiding Judge Jon Beetem denied the motion for Jahuan Whirley, 18.
"The Court finds there are no non-monetary conditions of release which will protect the community," Beetem wrote. "Financial conditions of release which might encourage attendance at trial do not protect the community and are likely unaffordable to defendant. The Court denies release on bond to the defendant."
In April, Beetem denied another motion that would have had the charge Whirley faced reduced from first-degree murder to second- degree murder, which was the original charge in the case.
Whirley was certified as an adult and charged in connection with the Dec. 12, 2018, shooting that killed Justin Kammerich, 33.
Whirley's case had been scheduled to go to trial before Beetem in September 2020. A jury had been selected Sept. 11, but they were not sworn in. On Sept. 14, prosecutors asked for a continuance after they learned they could test for possible DNA evidence on a pistol located in Whirley's residence. Prosecutors told Beetem they planned to dismiss the case if they weren't granted the continuance and refile charges against Whirley. Beetem granted the continuance.
On Nov. 4, 2020, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment where they charged Whirley with first-degree murder and planned to ask that he be given life in prison without parole if convicted because tests reportedly confirmed Whirley's DNA was found on the gun in question.
Whirley's public defender, Justin Carver, told Beetem that prosecutors were past the time they had to file their superseding indictment under case law. He asked Beetem to dismiss the first- degree murder charge and keep the charge against his client at second-degree murder, where the range of punishment is 10-30 years in prison or life in prison without parole, if convicted.
Both sides plan to be back in Beetem's court in March for a pre-trial conference to see if they are on track to have a trial, which is now scheduled for later that month.