A judge on Friday increased the cash-only bond for stabbing suspect Charles William Van Nest from $250,000 to $1 million after a county prosecutor argued that Van Nest posed a “serious danger” to the community and his victims.
Van Nest, 40, initially had his bond set at $250,000 after he was booked into the jail on Wednesday for allegedly stabbing a woman last Friday night in Patagonia. He reportedly fled the scene of the crime and evaded capture until the town marshal arrested him Wednesday morning at an unoccupied residence.
During a hearing Friday at Nogales Justice Court, Deputy County Attorney Gary Redente cited new information about the attack, as well as the victims’ fear of Van Nest, the weight of the evidence against him and the risk that he might try to flee again if released, as reasons for increasing the cash bond requirement to $1 million.
Redente told Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez that on the night of the crime, the woman victim was at home with three children, ages 8, 9 and 11, when Van Nest arrived uninvited to the home. The woman ran to the bathroom and locked the door, but Van Nest kicked it open and repeatedly stabbed her in the back of the neck with an ice pick.
The 11-year-old child tried to fight him off and also grabbed a phone from him, but Van Nest grabbed it back, Redente said.
The woman, who was reportedly flown to UMC Banner hospital in Tucson after the attack, still can’t walk and is suffering facial paralysis as the result of her injuries, Redente said. And she’s very afraid of Van Nest.
Several victims’ family members were on hand for the hearing, and Redente said they were eager to see his bond amount increased.
Redente said that the three children who witnessed the attack had undergone forensic interviews, and noted that the evidence against Van Nest is much greater than “he said, she said.”
Defense lawyer Charles Spector, who appeared telephonically, said he had just been given the case. He agreed that Van Nest is facing “very serious allegations,” but argued that $250,000 is still a significant sum of money.
Ultimately, he put up only mild resistance to the prosecutor’s request, but asked that it be put in writing.
Van Nest was led into the courtroom and watched over by two corrections officers during the hearing. He was dressed in a red-and-white-striped jail uniform, his hands cuffed in front of him and feet chained.
He spoke only to answer when the judge asked him his name, birthdate and address.
Velasquez reminded Van Nest at the start of the hearing that he had earlier been arraigned on three counts: attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. All of the charges carry a domestic violence designation.
A preliminary hearing in the case has been set for 9 a.m. on Oct. 16.