Bonds reviewed for couple charged in Hancock standoff

August 26, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

A man who engaged police in a 45-hour standoff at a Hancock motel last week appeared via a closed-circuit television monitor for a bond review Monday afternoon in Washington County District Court.

James A. Prevatt III, 26, is charged with threatening arson by use of an explosive device and other crimes in connection with the Hancock incident, during which he told police he would kill a hostage.

Prevatt claimed he was armed during the standoff and made bomb threats, but police said they didn't find any weapons or explosives in the room. Police reported finding drugs and stolen property -- including jewelry, cameras, electronic equipment and coins -- in the room.

Some items have been matched to an Aug. 11 burglary from a home west of Hancock, when about $17,000 worth of property was taken, according to a police press release.


Washington County District Judge Ralph H. France II ordered Prevatt's bond to remain at $500,000 on the charges in the standoff.

Police have said that Prevatt's girlfriend, 21-year-old Rene Reynolds, was "complicit" during the hostage situation, depicting herself as a hostage. Reynolds told police she was not a victim of kidnapping and wasn't held hostage. She helped tie a sheet around her mouth, and she held her hands behind her back to appear "bound" to negotiators during the standoff, Washington County District Court documents allege.

Reynolds was charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a threat of arson by use of an explosive device. She and Prevatt each were charged with two counts of possession of controlled dangerous substances. Police identified the substances as suspected marijuana and MDMA, also known as ecstasy. Reynolds also was charged with theft of more than $500, which is a felony.

Reynolds, who is pregnant and due to deliver Sept. 1, has a 2-year-old child at home in South Carolina, said Assistant Public Defender Loren Villa, who spoke for Reynolds during her bond review from the Washington County Detention Center.

Villa called the $250,000 bond set for Reynolds by a commissioner over the weekend an excessive, "knee-jerk reaction to the publicity in this case."

Only one of the charges against Reynolds is a felony, Villa said.

The conspiracy charges, while misdemeanors, each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison upon conviction. France lowered Reynolds' bond to $100,000.

Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion asked that Prevatt's bond remain the same because of the "havoc he was wreaking" in Hancock and because he is a flight risk.

Prevatt has been charged with escape in the past, and he has been convicted of armed burglary, she said. Authorities in Roanoke, Va., once charged Prevatt with larceny, and breaking and entering, she said.

Assistant Pubic Defender Carl Creeden represented Prevatt on Monday and had met with him at the Washington County Detention Center early that afternoon, he said. Creeden said he was unsure why the bond was so high for the charges Prevatt faces.

"The bond seems to rise as media coverage does," Creeden said.

The arson threats were in word only, since police found no weapons or explosives at the motel, he said.

Prevatt has a "significant mental health history" and was treated at a mental health hospital while serving a seven-year sentence in Virginia, Creeden said. Prevatt's history includes diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, he said.

Prevatt faces additional criminal charges related to a 2000 burglary in Hagerstown. France lowered Prevatt's bond in that case from $500,000 to $200,000.

Both were being held Monday afternoon at the Washington County Detention Center, a deputy said.

Both are from Moncks Corners, S.C., but Prevatt has lived in Hagerstown.

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