MOUNDSVILLE - A Moundsville man charged with malicious assault who had been in jail since June has been released.
Marshall County Circuit Judge Mark A. Karl lowered the bond for Michael John McGill, 49, to $15,000 and ordered his release Friday. He had been housed in the Northern Regional Jail since June on $250,000 bond.
Marshall County Prosecutor Jeff Cramer objected to McGill's release on bond, but Karl denied his request for the bond amount to remain the same.
McGILL Bond lowered from $250,000 to $15,000
McGill is charged with domestic battery and domestic assault after an incident on June 14 at a remote camp on Fish Creek in Marshall County, where McGill allegedly assaulted a family member and 52-year-old Silver Hill resident Michael Yoho. Yoho was found dead near the camp several days later.
Marshall County Sheriff's Department investigators believe Yoho was beaten by McGill at the camp site, but managed to drive away from the scene of the attack on an all-terrain vehicle, ultimately crashing the vehicle a short time later. The West Virginia Medical Examiner's Office determined Yoho died of compression asphyxia as a result of the ATV accident.
Due to media coverage of the case and numerous statements made by Marshall County officials, Karl in August issued a gag order barring any discussion of the case outside the courtroom.
McGill had been scheduled to appear before Karl Friday for a possible ruling on a change of venue in the case. Earlier this month, McGill's defense attorney, Robert McCoid, requested the change of venue, citing that his client may not be able to find an unbiased jury in Marshall County.
Seventy-five questionnaires were sent to potential jurors in hopes of finding a prospective jury pool. Karl said Friday that he had reviewed 70 questionnaires and had been able to find only 20 possible jurors.
Karl cited multiple reasons for respondents to be disqualified as jurors, including pre-formed opinions, media coverage and comments about whether McGill should testify. Karl told the attorneys and McGill that at this point, it does not appear a large enough jury pool can be found in Marshall County.
After Karl said a trial date would not be possible during the current term of court, McCoid requested the reduced bond with the condition that McGill remain on house arrest and wear a bracelet to monitor his blood-alcohol content at all times. McCoid told the court his client's past behavior often has been related to alcohol use.
As a condition of his bond, Karl ordered McGill to have no contact with the victims or potential witnesses in the case.
McGill is scheduled to appear in court again at 2 p.m. April 1. His trial date has been moved to June 22.
Cramer said his office still hopes the case can be tried in Marshall County. Karl agreed Friday to have more questionnaires sent out to potential jurors.
A member of Yoho's family who asked not to be named said the family was shocked by Karl's ruling that released McGill Friday.