Bond is not being reduced for the former Benton firefighter accused of downloading images of child pornography to a computer at his home, authorities told The Saline Courier late Thursday.
Timothy Ryan Bodkin, 38, is being held in the Saline County Detention Center on a $200,000 sheriff's bond. He is facing a thousand counts of felony possession of child pornography.
Bodkin's attorney, Brent Standridge, had requested a "significant" bond reduction before Benton District Judge Mike Robinson on Wednesday. Standridge's arguments for the bond reduction included interpretation of the law of change of circumstance and that the bond had been set by attorney Parker Jones, who served as a special judge during the June 22 court proceeding in which bond was set.
Standridge contents the $200,000 bond "is out of line" and that it "should be substantially reduced."
Saline County Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Bush, who represents the state, argued that there is no change of circumstance in the Bodkin case and said Bodkin is considered a "high risk of suicide." She also presented Robinson a Counseling Clinic letter noting that Timothy Bodkin allegedly had undergone psychological treatment when he was taken to jail because "he was intent on killing himself."
Standridge argued that Bodkin didn't say that he would harm other people. Bush, however, asked, "How do we know that? (Timothy Bodkin) doesn't say how he'd harm himself. He could take someone else with him."
Bush also suggested to Judge Robinson that if Timothy Bodkin receives a bond reduction, "everyone in jail would love to have a change in bond. Unless there is a change in circumstance, there isn't a case (for bond reduction). Everyone in jail would do this."
Standridge also contended that his client should face only one count of felony possession of child pornography.
"There was only one laptop seized," he said. "There should only be one count because it was only on one computer. The thousand counts is not necessarily the case; it is debatable."
Robinson said he would review applicable law and call the attorneys when his decision was made. He also said on Wednesday that "Judge Parker is capable of making judgments."
According to the Saline County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Robinson called late Thursday and said he was denying the motion to reduce bond for Bodkin.
Lt. Mike Frost of the Saline County Sheriff's Office said on June 19 the agency received information from the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force — comprised of investigators with the Saline County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas State Police, Pine Bluff Police and Homeland Security — that a person in Benton was downloading child pornography. He said that during the investigation, search warrants were obtained for the seizure of a computer that allegedly was owned by Bodkin.
Frost said the ICAC allegedly discovered numerous images of child pornography on Bodkin's computer. During the serving of the warrant, Bodkin reportedly was in Eureka Springs, but was contacted by members of the ICAC Task Force in Northwest Arkansas. Bodkin later was taken into custody at a bus station in North Little Rock.
Frost told the Courier that the investigation is continuing, but said there is no indication at this point that any of the images involve local children.
During the Wednesday court hearing, Standridge called three character witnesses to the stand in Bodkin's defense. Tommy Bodkin testified that his brother has no criminal history, is a dependable employee, "never got out of line," is not a flight risk, and if released, "will live with me."
However, it was revealed that Tommy Bodkin has a 14-year-old child living in his home. Bush then asked if it would surprise him to know that many of the child pornography images allegedly found on Timothy Bodkin's computer "showed small children in bondage," to which he replied "yes."
Bush also said that according to staff at the Saline County jail, Timothy Bodkin is considered "a high risk of suicide."
Steven McDaniel of Little Rock testified that Timothy Bodkin has been his best friend for about 28 years. He said Timothy Bodkin once lived in his home for two years and that he trusted the man to be around his two children.
McDaniel also said that Timothy Bodkin is "absolutely not" a flight risk. It was also revealed during Bush's questioning to McDaniel that Bodkin volunteered often to be around children, including a camp for burn victims, McDaniel's children, and other children of "friends and family."
McDaniel testified that even though there was "no reason for concern," he did ask his own children if anything inappropriate happened between them and Timothy Bodkin.
"They said nothing ever happened," McDaniel said.
He also said that since the arrest, he has spoken to Timothy Bodkin "four or five times," but the two did not discuss anything about child pornography.
McDaniel said he was surprised to learn that Timothy Bodkin had child pornography on a computer and answered "absolutely not" when asked if his opinion of his friend had changed.
"I trust him," he said. "I trust him with my children."
McDaniel said he was "not going to speculate" on how child pornography appeared on Bodkin's computer, but made reference to "today's technology," implying that it could have gotten there by accident.
When Benton firefighter Richard Childress testified, he said Timothy Bodkin was "like a son" to him.
"(Timothy Bodkin) has worked with me since he was 16 at my old convenience store," he said. "I have no concerns that he is a flight risk. He is a very close friend. I've looked at him like a son most of his life."
Bush asked, "Would you be surprised that (Timothy Bodkin) has confessed that he downloaded and searched for child pornography?"
"Yeah," Childress replied. "This has all taken me by surprise."
Bush then presented Robinson the letter from the Counseling Clinic.
"I also have a (Saline County sheriff's) detective here that can testify," Bush said. "She is prepared to tell you that (Timothy Bodkin) did in fact confess to downloading and particular searching for child pornography on his computer."
Timothy Bodkin is scheduled to return to Benton District Court on Aug. 7, at which time he could enter a plea.