Rapides judge denies bond reduction for Kayla Giles
Bond remains set at $2 million
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Rapides Parish Judge Greg Beard has denied an attempt by the defense attorney for Kayla Giles to reduce her $2 million bond ahead of her Jan. 2022 trial.
Giles is charged with second degree murder and obstruction of justice for the Sept. 2018 shooting death of her estranged husband, Thomas Coutee, Jr., in an Alexandria Walmart parking lot. Giles maintains it was self defense.
In July, George Higgins filed two motions: one to reduce her $2 million dollar bond and one to dismiss a contempt of court she received for an Oct. 2020 arrest on charges out of East Baton Rouge Parish.
On Tuesday, Judge Greg Beard heard arguments on the motions. As it pertained to the contempt motion, Higgins said, “She (Giles) has served as long as you can serve on a contempt hearing.”
Higgins was frustrated, he said, because of the delay to arraign Giles in East Baton Rouge Parish on the new felony charges she faces for identify theft, government benefits fraud, criminal conspiracy, and money laundering. The arraignment was delayed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Rapides Parish DC-1 jail that prevented her from being transported.
Higgins wanted her bond reduced because of the continuance granted in the murder trial, which was set for May 2021. It was delayed until Jan. 2022 after the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, discovered new potential evidence three days before the trial was set to start. Higgins believed Giles should be able to post bond ahead of the new date.
“I want the record to show, while she was out, Ms. Giles never missed a court date,” Higgins told the court. “I know (Assistant Attorney General) Mr. Lebeau will argue she’s a danger to society.” Higgins claimed the State “botched” up the discovery of potential new evidence in the case and had questions about how long it was known about.
“I know she’s accused of a hideous offense, I can’t imagine was the victim’s family has gone through - but I represent Ms. Giles,” said Higgins.
Assistant Attorney General Joseph Lebeau told the court that as soon as the State discovered the new potential evidence, the defense was contacted within 24 hours. He also put the reason for the $2 million bond squarely on Giles.
“The person who is responsible for that bond being $2 million is Ms. Giles,” said Lebeau. “Honestly, any amount of bond is too low.”
Lebeau said while it may be true Giles hasn’t missed a court date, he argued she was arrested on new felony charged while out on bond.
“She’s a danger to others and a danger to this community,” he told the court.
Ultimately, Judge Beard asked Higgins what was new since the last bond hearing that increased Giles’ bond other than the trial being delayed and the arraignment being pushed in East Baton Rouge Parish.
“There’s nothing new for me to consider,” said Judge Beard. “The only things that have changed are the proceedings in East Baton Rouge and the trial being continued.”
Judge Beard denied the bond reduction. As it pertained to the motion on the contempt, he said it was satisfied as Giles had already served 6 months in the parish jail.
Coutee, Jr.’s family cried and embraced as Judge Beard announced his decision.
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