Stewart pleads not guilty to attempted murder

A Vandalia man who is charged with attempted first-degree murder has pleaded not guilty to that charge and other felony charges alleging the firing of a shotgun.
But his request for the lowering of his bond was put on hold.
Travis E. Stewart, 38, waived his right to a preliminary hearing as he made his first appearance in court with his attorney, Alan Pretnar of Taylor Springs, last Wednesday afternoon.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge decides whether an individual will be held over for trial after hearing evidence presented by prosecutors.
Stewart, who is also charged with three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, waived that hearing and formal arraignment on those charges.
Pretnar asked that Stewart’s bond be reduced from $100,000, saying that Stewart has no prior felonies and that the alleged victim in this case “is in favor” of a lower bond.
“I know that is where his heart is at,” Pretnar told Judge J. Marc Kelly. “I don’t know why.”
Pretnar said that that individual was unable to attend Wednesday’s hearing, due to work obligations.
Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison said that while he was aware that the individual supported a lower bond for Stewart, he was “not agreeable” to that request, due to the fact that the charges allege that Stewart fired a .12-gauge shotgun at another individual.
Kelly said he was hesitant to grant such a request, noting both the nature of the charges filed against Stewart and the fact that his bond had been set “considerably lower than what normally is” for a charge such as attempted first-degree murder.
“I’m going to need to hear from the victim,” Kelly said, adding that he would reserve ruling on such a motion and would reset the matter for hearing, if necessary.
Attempted first-degree murder is a Class X felony is normally punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class 1 felony that normally carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Stewart was taken into custody by Vandalia Police in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 5, after an individual reported that Stewart had shot at him.
According to a Vandalia Police report, Stewart showed up at the residence of the alleged victim and his estranged wife, and that the three talked for some time.
Then, according to the report, she told police that when she saw Stewart with a gun, she ran upstairs. A short time later, she heard a gun being shot.
The alleged victim told police, according to the report, that Stewart pointed the gun at his face, and that it went off after he grabbed the barrel and pushed it away.
The report also states that the alleged victim told police that Stewart fired two more shots in his direction as he was fleeing from the residence in his vehicle. The report states that his vehicle had been hit with shotgun pellets on the front passenger fender, hood and windshield.
According to the report, Stewart, who was reportedly in a relationship with the estranged wife, claimed the alleged victim tried to break into the residence and that he grabbed a shotgun to protect himself.
According to the report, Stewart admitted to discharging the gun inside the residence, but denied firing it outside. The police report states that three spent shotgun shells were found outside the residence.

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