Ruling that the Wichita woman charged with murder in a decapitation poses an extreme risk to community safety, a judge Friday raised her bond to $500,000.
The ruling came at the end of a brief hearing Friday morning in Sedgwick County District Court where lawyers on both sides argued whether Rachael Hilyard should be able to get out of jail and what her bond should be.
Hilyard, 35, is charged in the April 9 decapitation of 63-year-old Micki Davis. One of Davis’ sons was Hilyard’s ex-boyfriend.
Police said Hilyard summoned Davis to Hilyard’s home on West Rita to get her son’s property. Hilyard began attacking Davis in the garage before Davis’ 9-year-old grandson fled, police said. Officers responding to the boy’s 911 call found Davis’ severed head in the kitchen sink.
Judge Tyler Roush said he had two factors to consider: an obligation to ensure that the community is adequately protected and that Hilyard appears in court.
Based on information in a police affidavit about the case, “I find that the community safety risk is extreme in this case, and the flight risk is at least moderate,” Roush told those at the hearing.
He raised her bond, which had been about $250,000, to $500,000. So Hilyard will remain in jail for now as she faces a July preliminary hearing to determine if the case should proceed to trial.
Hilyard’s defense attorney, Jason Smartt, had argued that the $250,000 bond was substantial and that Hilyard should be released from jail so she could receive mental health, medical and substance abuse assessment and treatment. The jail isn’t the ideal place for that, he said. Hilyard has neurological issues related to a brain injury, Smartt said.
“She’s not going to be able to get ongoing counseling and therapy,” he said.
She’s not going to be able to get ongoing counseling and therapy.
Jason Smartt, Rachael Hilyard’s defense attorney
Assistant District Attorney Monika Hoyt countered that Hilyard’s bond should be increased because she poses a greater risk to the community than was originally known based on information from the media and other sources and Hilyard’s own comments.
“Her greatest desire is to get out of custody,” and there’s no indication that she needs resources or is amenable to getting them, Hoyt said.
About a dozen members of Davis’ family, including her 84-year-old mother, attended the hearing. They were accompanied by a yellow Labrador therapy dog named Laddy.
The dog with the velvety smooth coat of hair calmly sat at the feet of Davis’ relatives, who grimaced as Hilyard turned back and squinted in their direction as she was led from the courtroom in shackles. She wore green jail clothing. The jail uses color codes for inmate clothing. Green usually signifies someone who is to be kept away from someone else.
After the hearing, Davis’ son, Jeremy Rush, said the higher bond is “at least a start.”
About a dozen members of Micki Davis’ family, including her 84-year-old mother, attended the hearing.
Vera Hanson, Micki Davis’ 84-year-old mother, was asked by her family if she wanted to say something to a reporter after the hearing. Hanson paused, then noted that if her daughter had lived to be Hanson’s age, that would have been “21 (more) years that she could have enjoyed her kids.”
Hilyard’s case drew extra attention earlier this month after she said in a jailhouse interview with The Eagle that she had sought an exorcism for “evil spirits” in her house just a few days before the April 9 killing.
She also told the reporter that if she could get out of jail, she would talk more.