Freeman bond reduced slightly

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The bond totals were reduced slightly in court Tuesday in the case of a Troy man accused of sexually harassing minors.

Tripp Freeman, 20, came before the Pike County District Court for a preliminary hearing regarding four felony charges — two sodomy and two child enticement charges.

Freeman’s attorney, J. Carlton Taylor, waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing, but requested that Freeman’s bond be reduced on the four felony charges Freeman is facing.

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However, District Judge William Hightower denied Taylor’s motion on three of the four charges, reducing only one of Freeman’s two Class C felony charges for enticement.

The bond for that charge was reduced from $50,000 to $40,000.

Assistant district attorney Jeff Moore voiced the prosecution’s concerns over lowering the bond amount during the hearing.

“Obviously, we are opposed to the defense’s motion,” Moore said. “There is a great concern from us due to the number of victims there were. There were a number of misdemeanor charges in the City of Troy that came so close, but didn’t rise to the level of being felonies. The understanding that we have from talking to parents is that Mr. Freeman has a reputation for keeping the company of young children.”

In addition to the lowered bond of $40,000 for the enticement charge, Freeman also faces an additional Class C felony enticement charge, with bond set at $50,000, as well as two Class A felony charges of sodomy first degree, with the bond for both of those charges set at $50,000 each.

The total bond amount for the four felony charges is now set at $190,000.

Freeman also faces $3,000 bond combined from six misdemeanor charges, which include two counts of indecent exposure and four counts of harassment.

Freeman’s total bond is set at $193,000.

If Freeman is able to make bond, he is not allowed to have contact with any children under the age of 16 without any adult supervision.

After the hearing, Taylor said the outcome of the hearing was not quite what he had hoped for.

“The judge did what he thought was correct,” Taylor said. “Obviously, we thought it should be set lower, but there’s a long way to go. This case is going to take a long time.”

Taylor also said he is hopeful that the public can keep an open mind between now and any possible trial.

“We just want people to remember that Mr. Freeman is innocent until he is proven guilty by the state,” Freeman said. “We hope people would reserve their judgment on this case until it’s all said and done because anyone could be picked for the jury.”

Freeman was first arrested on May 11 for a harassment charge stemming from an incident with a 13-year-old boy at a Relay for Life event. The child’s parents filed the charges and encouraged other parents to talk to their children about possible contact with Freeman.

Since then, Freeman has been named the suspect in nine other sexual misconduct incidents involving minors.

Before undergoing trial, Freeman must be indicted by a grand jury. The next Pike County Grand Jury will be called in October.

In related news, a preliminary hearing for Isriel Morrill was also waived. Morrill was arrested May 14 for allegedly sexually abusing a 6-year-old child.

Morrill must also be indicted by a grand jury before facing trial.