Bond set in Williams, Wise cases

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Judge Bob Armstrong set large bonds for both David Allen Williams, 32, and Jerry Wise, 52, in the hopes of sending a message to the community about the consequences of violent crime.

Summing up his rationale for the bonds he set, Armstrong said, “Everyone is entitled to a reasonable bond, unless they are a danger to the community,” adding that these types of life-threatening crimes “ups the ante a lot.”

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The first case on the docket for the hearing was that of Wise, who has been charged with the murder of his uncle, Joe Peptaway. On Monday night, Wise and Peptaway got into an argument because Peptaway had thrown Wise’s keys on top of his house in an effort to prevent the man from driving drunk.

Many family members related to both men were in the courtroom. Before making a ruling, Armstrong said he wanted to hear from the victim’s family.

Mrs. Walker, Peptaway’s daughter and Wise’s cousin, tearfully pleaded with Armstrong to set a high bond because she claimed that Wise is “very dangerous.” She suggested Wise exhibited violent tendencies in the past and should remain incarcerated.

“All my family was trying to do was to help him,” said Walker, her voice trembling with tears.

“We take violence in our community very seriously. My heart goes out to all who were affected by this,” said Armstrong.

After hearing Walker’s testimony, Armstrong ruled that Wise’s bond would be set at $250,000.

The next case, a crime of passion, also involved a shooting. Williams has been charged with first-degree assault. The victim, Michael Hardin, was wounded by a shot in the leg from a Glock .40 caliber handgun, according to William’s statement given to Selma Police Department Det. Tommy Buford.

In his testimony, Buford indicated that Williams and Hardin were best friends for about three years prior to the altercation. They became friends while Williams was working as a fireman and Hardin as a paramedic in Montgomery.

Most recently, the two worked together for CARE ambulance service in Selma. Hardin commuted from out of town to work in Selma and Williams often invited Hardin to stay at his house in Valley Grande, explained Buford.

One night, when Hardin was staying with them, Williams had left the living room where they were all sitting and when he came back he witnessed Hardin and his wife sitting together. He asked his wife to come into the bedroom to talk privately with her and eventually she confessed to having an affair with Hardin, said Buford.

Williams left and the next day he went to his work place armed with a Glock .40 caliber. He inquired about Hardin’s whereabouts and was told he was asleep in one of the rooms on site. Williams went in the room where Hardin was lying down and confronted him, according to Buford.

As Hardin raised himself up out of bed, Buford said Williams removed the semi-automatic handgun and shot him. The bullet entered and cut through Hardin’s left leg, finally lodging itself in his right leg.

In his statement to Buford, Williams said he did not mean to shoot Hardin and that his emotions got the better of him.

While Armstrong admitted that he recognizes there are mitigating circumstances, he contended that Williams had ample time to consider other alternatives to dealing with the situation. He set William’s bond at $100,000.

“You shot somebody and you could have killed them,” adding that, “maybe this is harsh, but I believe it is necessary,” said Armstrong.