The case of a high-profile homicide in the town of Doniphan has been delayed into next year to allow for all pretrial presentations of evidence to be heard.
On Tuesday, Judge Lara Johnson-McNish of the State of Kansas 22nd District Court of Doniphan County ordered the case continued to 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. The delayed pretrial hearing will take place, just as with Tuesday’s hearing, at the Doniphan County Courthouse, 120 E. Chestnut St. in Troy.
Jason Pantle, 42, died Sept. 28 at a Kansas City-area hospital, following a confrontation at a private party on Sept. 22. The incident lead to a criminal inquiry by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the arrest of Matthew “Cole” Scherer, 30, Brian A. Spilman Jr., 22, and Scott A. Vandeloo, 44.
The three men have been charged with aggravated battery. The defendants haven’t yet been charged with a homicide offense, but Doniphan County Attorney Charles Baskins has indicated to the court that his office may move to upgrade the charges in the future.
On Tuesday, Johnson-McNish heard presentations by the attorneys for the three men, who appeared together before her at the courthouse in Troy.
She denied requests by attorneys for Scherer and Spilman for bond to be lowered from $150,000. All three men remain in pretrial detention pending fulfillment of that bond. Baskins, who is prosecuting the case, informed the judge that Pantle’s family had requested for no change in the bond amount. Johnson-McNish took that factor and others into account in her ruling.
“The allegations show this to be a particularly heinous crime,” Johnson McNish said. “The allegations show that the victim was repeatedly beaten, and the victim was beaten even after he was knocked down ...
“While the defendants enjoy the presumption of innocence ... The nature of this crime shows that the perpetrators had a complete lack of respect for the life and limb of another.”
Carl Scherer, father of the 30-year-old defendant, briefly commented on the case after the hearing.
“All I’ve got to say is that he (Cole) is innocent until proven guilty,” Scherer said.
The judge said during the hearing that the January pretrial session is expected to grapple with “disturbing” facts about Pantle’s death.
“The report is troubling, from what I see,” Johnson-McNish said. “We will let the preliminary hearing bring that to light.”