Man charged in Kilby motel shooting has been granted bail
LAS CRUCES — The man accused of shooting at a car full of people near the Kilby Motel two weeks ago was granted $5,000 bond by a judge on Tuesday.
Johnny Whelan, 25, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon and tampering with evidence. His arrest stems from a shooting in an alley near the Kilby Motel on South Main Street.
According to a police affidavit, Whelan fired a shotgun at a vehicle full of people on January 13. The affidavit stated that two arguments broke out behind the Kilby Motel before the shooting, although neither involved Whelan. Instead, police said Whelan fired at the arguing group as they attempted to flee in a vehicle.
During Tuesday’s hearing, one of the participants in the dispute said that another person involved in the dispute had left to pick up Whelan. Another witness said Whelan knew one of the participants in the argument before the shooting. When Whelan returned on his bicycle, witnesses told police he shot them.
“This defendant has absolutely no respect for the safety of others,” prosecutor Debra Doll told the court.
Doll added that Whelan had already been released from prison on another charge. Court records show Whelan has a pending drug charge.
As such, prosecutors have asked Whelan to remain in jail pending trial.
Ramona Martinez-Salopek, Whelan’s defense attorney, said conflicting statements from the affidavit and witnesses suggested the situation was chaotic.
For example, Martinez-Salopek pointed out that the same witness who told police there were two cyclists said on Tuesday there was only one.
Martinez-Salopek said the inconsistencies and
However, 3rd Judicial District Judge Douglas Driggers found there were conditions of release that could protect the community and ensure Whelan’s compliance with court orders.
Due to the nature of the charges and previous cases in which Whelan did not appear in court, Driggers granted Whelan a guaranteed bond of $5,000 – meaning Whelan will have to post bail, or ten percent from it to a surety, before leaving prison. Whelan was ordered to stay away from the Kilby Motel and avoid contact with any alleged victims or witnesses.