A judge denied a bond request last Wednesday from an Amherst man accused of threatening to shoot his mother, injure himself and burn his parents’ house down.
Justin Wade Staton, 31, is charged with making a bomb threat against his family, a felony, on Aug. 7. He was denied bond in Amherst General District Court and appealed the ruling to Judge Michael Garrett at a Aug. 28 hearing in Amherst Circuit Court.
Staton also is charged with four felony counts of malicious wounding in connection with two previous incidents at the home involving his parents, according to court documents. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Drake said Staton’s parents each sustained injuries and protective orders were filed against the defendant.
Staton also faces two misdemeanor assault and battery charges in connection with a June 22 incident, court records show.
Drake said an Amherst County Sheriff’s deputy arrived following the most recent domestic dispute at the Amherst home and interviewed Justin Staton’s aunt. Staton had threatened to burn down the residence, shoot his mother and shoot himself, according to the report filed, Drake said.
Staton also attempted to get gasoline from a vehicle on the property, but it was empty, Drake said. He argued Staton attempted to take action to carry out what he said he would do.
“This is a very serious threat,” Drake said.
The six other pending charges in Amherst Circuit Court stem from incidents at his parents’ house, Drake said. In arguing against allowing Staton’s release as he awaits trial, Drake said the commonwealth’s concern is more incidents will occur and may rise to the level of a potential homicide.
“And the commonwealth doesn’t want to see that happen,” Drake said to Garrett.
Craig Tiller, Staton’s attorney, described the matter in court as a “threat case on paper.” Tiller said Staton has been diagnosed as bipolar, has had his ups and downs and the matter isn’t “escalating” as the prosecutor argued.
“I don’t agree with that argument,” Tiller said.
In ordering to deny bond, Garrett said his safety concerns are not just for the family but for the general public as well.
“It’s a concern there are multiple incidents on multiple dates,” Garrett said.
The nature of the alleged attacks on Staton’s parents were not described during the hearing. Staton is in custody at the Amherst County Adult Detention Center.
The four malicious wounding charges and two counts of assault against Staton are scheduled to be set for trial Oct. 8, online court records show. A preliminary hearing on the bomb threat charge is set for Oct. 17 in Amherst General District Court.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.