December 04, 2018 06:42 AM
A Texas police officer charged in the deadly shooting of a Sodus couple formally pleaded not guilty in Wayne County Court on Monday.
Bron Bohlar, 34, was arraigned on charges of second-degree conspiracy.
"He is a police officer and he understands that this process has to play out," declared Bohlar's defense attorney James Riotto.
Last week, Bohlar was indicted in connection with the Oct. 22 shooting deaths of Josh Niles and Amber Washburn outside their home in Sodus.
Niles' ex-girlfriend Charlene Childers, with whom Niles had two children, and Childers' now-husband Timothy Dean, who was also Bohlar's former police chief in Sunray, Texas, were accused of hatching a plot to kill Niles.
Prosecutors say Washburn was probably not an intended target before the incident.
Dean and Childers are in the Wayne County Jail.
Dean is charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and conspiracy. Childers is facing one count of murder in the second degree, conspiracy, and criminal possession of a weapon.
Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Christine Callanan explained that, while Bohlar wasn't accused of killing anyone, his involvement warranted the conspiracy charge.
"There was a plan to commit a Class A felony which, in this case, is murder in the second degree," she said. "And that the participants in the conspiracy had knowledge of it and they took some overt action in it."
In court on Monday, Callanan declared prosecutors were ready to take the case to trial.
The charge against Bohlar spells out his alleged part in the murders.
According to the formal complaint, Bohlar rented a car for Dean to drive from Texas to Sodus to kill Niles and met with Dean and Childers in the garage of Dean's home to discuss plans to kill Niles.
"No, he was never any part of that," Riotto insisted. "That's just not true."
Riotto claims Bohlar was never a knowing participant of any murder scheme and that he was unaware the car he rented on Dean's behalf was for anything other than local use.
"That's our understanding right now," Riotto said. "He simply rented a car for a friend, to help out a friend. And that was it. He had no idea any of this was going to happen."
Bohlar was ordered held in Cayuga County Jail on $150,000 bail, $300,000 bond.
Callanan had called for a high bail calling Bohlar a flight risk given the severity of the charges against him and the fact that he had no personal connections to Wayne County or New York state.
Riotto dismissed such concerns.
"He's a decorated law enforcement veteran from Moore County Texas," he exclaimed. "Distinguished awards. He has a family of his own. He's not a flight risk. He's going to answer these charges."
Bohlar is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 7.
Updated: December 04, 2018 06:42 AM
Created: December 03, 2018 06:46 PM
Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company