OKLAHOMA CITY – A judge refused to grant bond to an Oklahoma City pastor accused of murder.
The 53-year-old suspect, Michael Elder, is accused of shooting his son in law to death last month.
That means the suspect will remain behind bars until trial.
It all started over a domestic dispute involving pickup truck.
Gary Davidson was shot to death by his father-in-law Elder.
Since his initial video arraignment, Elder has been held without bond.
Judge Glenn Jones decided not to grant a defense request to release the pastor pending trial.
“It’s very uncommon for a defendant charged with murder to get bond in this state and especially in this county,” attorney Jacqui Ford said.
In fact, judge Jones’ decision fits with recent history.
Jerome Ersland, the pharmacist charged with murder following an armed robbery, had bond granted prior to trial.
Justin Adams, suspected of killing his wife Jamie, currently remains free on bond.
Those are two of only four times Oklahoma County judges have let murder suspects free on bond before trial in the last half dozen years.
In only one of those four cases involving a man named Joe Ray Love did prosecutors object to the release.
In this case, the defense said Elder, a pastor at the Cross Baptist Church was not a flight risk, had no criminal history and posed no threat to the community.
Elder’s attorney argues the victim threatened to kill his estranged wife and the wife feared for her life during the confrontation that led Elder to shoot the victim.
However, the self-defense claim does not factor into whether to grant bond.
“When a defendant is claiming self defense, that becomes an issue for a jury, not for the judge to rely on at a bond hearing,” Ford said.
Elder’s attorney refused to talk about the case, as did several friends and family that came to court.