clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

KASTANIS COUNSEL SEEK BAIL RECONSIDERATION

Attorneys for Sam Kastanis asked a judge Friday to reconsider his decision denying bail for the man accused in the stabbing and bludgeoning deaths of his wife and three children.

A motion filed by defense attorneys Ronald R. Yengich and Earl Xiaz claims 3rd Circuit Judge Michael Hutchings did not have jurisdiction when he revoked Kas-tanis' $125,000 bond.They also claim the defense was not given adequate time to prepare for an impromptu bail hearing last week following Kastanis' two-week preliminary hearing.

Hutchings ordered Kastanis held without bail after finding cause exists to believe the 44-year-old West Jordan man used a knife and claw hammer to murder his family last November.

He is charged with four counts of capital murder for the slayings of Margaret Kastanis, 39, and their children Melissa, 11, Clint, 9, and Christine, 6. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Arraignment is set for Sept. 25.

Yengich claimed Hutchings lost jurisdiction when he bound Kas-tanis over for trial in district court. He also said the judge used the wrong legal standard in determining whether bail was justified, and failed to give Kastanis the opportunity to rebut state's efforts to have him jailed.

Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Kent Morgan plans to fight to keep Kastanis behind bars.

"We have felt from the beginning that, based on the nature of the offense and the nature of the evidence, this man is a capital murderer," Morgan said. "Based on statutes and the likelihood of his facing the death penalty, we don't think bail is appropriate in this case. We want to ensure the defendant is available for trial."

Yengich said the Utah Constitution allows bail in all cases except when substantial evidence points toward guilt or in cases where the accused poses a flight or safety risk.

Hutchings, he said, applied the incorrect standard in weighing the state's evidence against his client.

"We'd like to give him a chance to reconsider," he said. If Hutch-ings refuses to reinstate bail, Yengich said he'll take the matter to the Utah Supreme Court.

Kastanis, he said, does not pose a flight risk. During the months between the November slayings and charges filed in June, Kastanis continued to report to his job with Salt Lake County Public Works department.

When charges were filed, prosecutors attempted to have Kas-tanis held without bail, which the Utah Supreme Court determined is appropriate in some capital cases.

Citing Kastanis' cooperation with authorities, Hutchings set bail at $125,000. Kastanis' two sisters posted property bonds on their homes and came up with $15,000 cash.