sets bail at $2M for Fernbach
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel petitioned
the court to set the bail for James L. Fernbach Jr., 32, of Batesville,
at two million dollars. He said investigators have not yet determined
a motive for Fernbach shooting two people outside a Batesville
store on Saturday, April 4 and believes there is danger
not only to the individuals who were shot, but the community at
large, unless a high bail is imposed.
There was a high sense of security at an Initial Hearing that
took place in Ripley County Circuit Court at 1 p.m. on Tuesday,
April 7 with Judge Carl Taul presiding. Outside the courtroom,
officers, along with Bailiff Dave Schmaltz were searching personal
items such as purses, brief cases, etc. They were also using an
electronic wand making sure no one was carrying any type of weapon
on their person before entering the courtroom. There were approximately
15 people who attended the hearing that would establish bail for
Fernbach, and set dates for future court proceedings.
Judge Taul read the rules of the court proceedings to Fernbach
asking him for comment on the bail that was set.
Fernbach replied, Im glad nobodys dead, killed
or hurt...It wasnt something I planned.
The judge told him he was asking him if he understood the bail
to which he replied, Im fine with that, I couldnt
post that anyway.
Judge Taul explained to Fernbach that he could be free by posting
10% of the $2M, which would be a $200,000 cash bond.
One of the alleged victims, Benjamin Dick, 26, of Batesville,
was in the courtroom with a bandaged hand, from injuries sustained
in the shooting incident. He later told the media he wished there
was no bail set. Also in the courtroom were family members of
the other alleged victim, Phillip Cruser, 56, of Westport, who
sustained a gunshot wound in the head. He remains in an Indianapolis
hospital according to family members.
Also in the courtroom were family members of Fernbach who had
no comment to the media.
The judge asked Fernbach if he had financial means to pay for
an attorney. He indicated he did not. Judge Taul found Fernbach
to be indigent and appointed Mark Jones as his counsel.
A standard plea of not guilty was entered on Fernbachs behalf.
An Omnibus Hearing was set for June 18 with five days set aside
for a trial by jury beginning October 26 at 9 a.m.
Prosecutor Ric Hertel said he couldnt recall having such
a high bail set for this particular charge, Attempted Murder.
But, he was pleased with the judges decision in the matter.
He believes Fernbach is a dangerous person.
If convicted, Fernbach could serve 100 years for the offenses.
Fernbach was arrested just minutes after the shootings occurred
after he called 911 from his home saying he had shot someone.