A man charged with first degree murder in a December shooting was released from the Sedgwick County Jail on Wednesday, and one of the victim’s relatives says she is outraged and concerned for her family’s safety and the public’s safety.
Sheriff’s Lt. Lin Dehning confirmed Thursday that Keeshaun Milo was released from jail at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday after posting a $200,000 bond. Often, someone has to pay 10 percent of the full amount to post the bond.
Milo is facing trial, currently scheduled for Oct. 23, on a charge of first degree murder in the shooting death of Michael Hamilton, 45.
“The worst day of my life was when I found out (he) had been killed,” Hamilton’s relative said Thursday.
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“The second worst day of my life was when I found out that (Milo) was released.” A victims’ advocate told her that Milo had to “come up with $20,000,” the relative said. “And I thought, Oh, my God, for $20,000 he gets to walk free.” She asked not to be identified because of safety concerns.
Milo “is now walking the streets among the general population, and it’s not right,” the relative said in an email Thursday. “I think something needs to be put into place, to see that this type of thing doesn’t happen again.”
In an earlier interview, she said, “There needs to be an astronomical bond set” in murder cases. He could be facing the rest of his life in prison and might think he has nothing to lose, she said. “He could run.”
Under Kansas law, judges set bonds to help ensure that a defendant appears in court and for public safety, said District Attorney Marc Bennett. There is no standard bond amount; it is left to the discretion of courts. One legal argument is that it would be unconstitutional to set a bond for the purpose of making sure that someone doesn’t get out of jail, Bennett said. All along, the defendant is presumed to be innocent.
Milo’s defense lawyer, Sharon Barnett, said Thursday that she couldn’t comment but could acknowledge that her client is out of jail on bond.
Among Milo’s requirements while he is free is that he be under GPS monitoring and have no contact with witnesses in the case, said Dan Dillon, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office. It is prosecuting the case.
Those requirements don’t make her feel safe, Hamilton’s relative said.
Two children and their mother were in Hamilton’s home when he was shot, she said.
Wichita police have said that an argument during a drug deal led to the shooting, in a mobile home park in the 3800 block of South Meridian. Police said Hamilton was struck twice and died less than three hours later at a hospital.
The relative said she learned from a family member Wednesday morning that Milo was being released.
A victims advocate with the DA’s office told her that she understood Hamilton’s relative being upset, the relative said. The advocate said that she and the prosecutors were stunned that Milo had been released, the relative said. The advocate said that she could think of only two other cases in the past three and a half years where a defendant in a murder case had been released on bond while awaiting trial.
A second man – James Austin Ryan Welborn – also has been charged with first degree murder in Hamilton’s death. Welborn remains in jail on a $100,000 bond while awaiting a trial set for Nov. 1.
Police have said that Milo fired the gun.
According to court records, a fight broke out after marijuana was brought to Hamilton’s home to be sold to him.
Hamilton’s relative said he “had some issues, and it (marijuana) kind of kept him calm.”
“Michael wasn’t a bad guy, and he was a person with a family, who loved him,” she said.
But he “was not a drug dealer,” she said. “Basically a good ol’ boy from Oklahoma.” He was a welder and came to Wichita to help care for his mother, who died of cancer four months before he was shot to death.
He was going to move back to Oklahoma, where he owned a home, she said.
“He was just there wrapping some loose ends.”