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Accused of kidnapping, Brock says he is broke, illiterate
Jul 25, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
The initial appearance on Thursday for the Riverton man arrested in the kidnapping of a young girl gave more insight into the case than most such hearings.
The purpose in Riverton Circuit Court was to allow the Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts to tell the defendant David Waine Brock his rights and the charges against him.
Brock appeared wearing Fremont County Detention Center orange, close-cropped blonde hair and a scruffy beard. He was energetic and engaged in the proceedings.
Roberts kept Brock's bond at $250,000 cash, likely too high for the defendant to make bail. A preliminary hearing is set for July 30.
A hiccup arrived when Roberts asked if Brock could read along while the judge read the defendant's charges.
"I'm illiterate," Brock said.
He said he could not read or write.
The defendant confirmed that he could listen and understand as the judge read aloud and that he did not have a learning disability that would affect his understanding.
Brock is charged with two counts of kidnapping removal, alleging he took a 9-year-old from her bed early Saturday morning and did not return her unharmed. Both counts cover the same crime but follow slightly different theories of the alleged crime, allowing the prosecutors options in proving the case.
The defendant showed a defiant attitude while Roberts explained his constitutional rights and arrived at his description of the presumption of innocence.
"Sir, they already convicted me on TV," Brock interjected, referring to initial news coverage of the case.
Roberts reiterated the legal system would consider him innocent until he was convicted.
The defendant also had a right to have the affidavit in the case laying out evidence against him read to him, Roberts said.
"I don't even know what I'm getting alleged to," Brock said.
The judge was reluctant to read it in court because he did not want to identify the juvenile alleged victim.
"What I'm concerned about is identifying the parents by name and by physical address," Roberts said, referring to pieces of information in the affidavit and now a public record. "Unfortunately, the documents have been disseminated."
The Ranger has chosen not to publish that information.
Roberts called Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett to the bench for an off-the-record conversation on handling the sensitive details. Afterward, the judge called for a volunteer public defender to help Brock for the day after concluding he likely qualified financially for such assistance.
Valerie Schoneberger stepped forward from the gallery to lend a hand.
"I don't have anything. I'm broke," Brock said. "I'm in debt up to my neck."
He had been working in construction before his arrest and was receiving an income. He rented a residence and owned no real estate.
Brock and the lawyer left the courtroom to discuss the affidavit and prepare a financial statement for the defendant so he could formally apply for the Public Defenders Office's services.
Roberts worked through hearings in several other cases before Brock returned to the room for a discussion of his bond, which the judge set at $250,000 in the defendant's warrant.
Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett called for a $500,000 bond.
"When you look at the safety of the community, this is about the scariest case we can have," Bennett said.
He noted that Brock fled from Riverton and was found hiding behind furniture in a storage shed in Lander. Investigators also have "preliminary information" that Brock was trying to organize a flight from the county, either to his grandparents in Montana or to his father in Tennessee, Bennett said.
Schoneberger asked for a surety bond, which would makes posting bail easier by allowing the defendant to use a bail bondsman. She pointed out he is innocent until proven guilty.
"I don't believe he necessarily poses a flight risk," Schoneberger said. "He doesn't possess a driver's license or a vehicle."
His mother and brother live in Riverton, and he had lived in Fremont County for four years, she said.
But a surety bond would do little to ensure the safety of individuals in the community, specifically the alleged victim and her family, Roberts said. A bail bondsman is only responsible for making sure a defendant shows up in court, but is not responsible if his client violates bond by harming his alleged victims.
The judge also was concerned about the risk of flight but thought $500,000 cash would be excessive, leading him to keep bond at $250,000 cash.
Roberts ordered Brock to have no contact with any children under 18 years old. Schoneberger informed the court that Brock has a 5-year-old child, but the judge did not change his order.