by Caitlin Huston
Facebook messages reportedly sent to a witness caused a 36-year-old Walton man to return to jail without bond.
Steven Seals is facing an attempted murder charge, a class A felony, for reportedly trying to kill a man as he drove past his Walton home. Seals’s bond was revoked Friday after Cass Superior Court II Judge Rick Maughmer found that Seals had contacted a witness in the case via Facebook.
Seals was originally arrested Aug. 2, 2012, after police say he fired 14 shots from the porch of his Turner Terrace home at an acquaintance who was driving by. The man was reportedly uninjured except for a small cut.
The attempted murder charge was filed Nov. 15, 2012, when Cass County Prosecutor Kevin Enyeart said they had information evidence filed for a “specific intent to kill,” as required by Indiana law.
Seals faces five charges: attempted murder, a class A felony; three counts of criminal recklessness with a weapon, all class D felonies; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor.
Cass County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Swaim said in court Friday that a witness for the case had said she had been contacted by Seals through a private Facebook message while he was out of jail on bail. The reported contact also violated a protective order the witness had against Seals.
Swaim said Seals’s bond should be revoked because his actions demonstrated “an instability,” in addition to violating the protective order.
Seals’s attorney, Jay Hirschauer, said that while the witness may have received Facebook messages from Seals’s profile, the prosecution could not prove that he had sent the messages, rather than someone hacking into his account.
“There’s nothing in this case that links this back to the defendant,” Hirschauer said.
Cass County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Shannon and Detective Dale Campbell both testified and said they believed Seals had sent he messages.
Maughmer ruled later in the afternoon Friday to revoke Seals’s bail because Swaim had provided “clear and convincing creditable hearsay” showing that Seals did “intimidate a prospective witness.”
Swaim said in an interview that hearsay evidence was accepted in this case because it wasn’t an actual trial for the case.
Seals has been in the Cass County Jail since Feb. 26.
He also faces a class A misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy in a separate case stemming from the reported Facebook messages.
“At this point we will be moving forward with the discovery,” Swaim said in an interview.
Seals has a status hearing scheduled for both cases June 3 in Cass Superior Court II.
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