Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 6, 2014

Kehrer pleads innocent

MT. VERNON — A standing room only audience packed Court Room A at the Jefferson County Courthouse on Wednesday for the arraignment of 47-year-old Sammy Kehrer of Mt. Vernon.

Kehrer has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 18 stabbing death of 37-year-old Eric Houser of Mt. Vernon at the Mt. Vernon Gun and Sportsman’s Club.

Through his privately hired attorney James Gomric of Belleville, Kehrer pleaded innocent to all charges.

Kehrer was recently indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury.

In motions heard before Judge Eric Dirnbeck, the state was granted a motion to collect DNA samples from Kehrer with State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman informing the court those samples could be taken within seven days.

Arguments were also presented for a reduction of bail. Kehrer has been lodged in the Jefferson County Justice Center under $3 million bond since his arrest at his home on the evening of the stabbing.

Gomric argued that Kehrer does not pose as a risk of flight or risk of harm.

“There is no evidence that he’s not going anywhere whether the bond is $10,000 or $300,000,” Gomric told the court, in asking for a bond reduction of $300,000.

Hoffman said his job as state’s attorney is to protect the public and the charges represent a high bond be established. A $300,000 bond is “unreasonably low,” Hoffman argued.

After taking a short recess to review statutory requirements of bail, Dirnbeck said he respects the decision made by Resident Judge Jo Beth Weber to set the bond at $3 million.

“The only reason to consider the $3 million bond is that I would have set it lower based upon my previous experience,” Dirnbeck said, noting he has 20 years of experience in criminal proceedings, many of those years as a defense attorney.

However, based on the statutory requirements, Dirnbeck denied the motion for a reduction of bond.

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