An attempted murder charge has been dropped against one of the three suspects in the stabbing of a local businessman outside the VFW earlier this month.
Original murder conspiracy member Tracy D. Bouldin, 45, of Putnam County had his charge dropped at the request of prosecutors shortly after his bond had been lowered following a bond hearing Thursday. Bouldin is now a free man.
He was charged along with local businessman, Jack Redmon, 44, and Brooke Hale, 33, estranged wife of the victim, with the knife attack on Mike Hale, owner of H&H Hale’s Plumbing. The incident happened Aug. 9 in the parking lot of the VFW on Sparta Highway.
While District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis would not go into detail about the reason for dropping charges against Bouldin ahead of his Sept. 8 preliminary hearing, it was pointed out by Bouldin’s defense there was little to tie him to the incident other than he had arrived with Redmon.
“My client was there on a quasi-peace keeping involvement,” Public Defender John Partin said during the bond hearing. Partin questioned if the warrant was correct in claiming his client had texted Redmon the day of the stabbing saying he was “going to get Mike Hale.” Partin suggested the warrant may have been confused as to who sent the text.
“I think at this point, it was the appropriate thing to do,” said Zavogiannis of dropping the charge against Bouldin.
Lawmen say Redmon and Mrs. Hale arrived at the VFW on Redmon’s motorcycle followed by Bouldin on a separate motorcycle. Redmon and Mrs. Hale then allegedly went after the victim with Redmon stabbing him twice in the chest and midsection while she swung a motorcycle helmet.
The pair then allegedly chased Hale through the parking lot until he sought refuge inside the VFW building. The suspects were stopped from following him inside by an employee there. All three fled the scene after the attack but were stopped by lawmen a short time later. Hale was treated at Erlanger Medical Center for several days for his knife wounds.
It was later found Redmon and Mike Hale had been exchanging texts, apparently angry over Hale’s estranged wife and other woman issues between the men. They had both tried to get warrants on the other, claiming threats by each other, but the judicial commissioner refused to issue warrants over text threats. Prosecutors believe Mrs. Hale initiated contact with her estranged husband that day and plans were made to confront him in the parking lot at the VFW.
While Bouldin is free of charges, Redmon and Mrs. Hale remained behind bars despite a reduction in bail. Redmon had his bail dropped from $1 million to $300,000 and Mrs. Hale from $500,000 to $100,000.
Zavogiannis noted there is a possibility she will ask for bond to be increased against the pair after evidence is heard against them during the Sept. 8 preliminary hearing. She added charges could be readopted against Bouldin, but at this point she does not anticipate recharging him.
The two remaining defendants face eight to 25 years in prison if convicted.