Murder suspect Ryan Harkey's bond revoked after positive drug test

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Ryan Harkey

UNION, Mo. -- Ryan Harkey, the Jackson man set to stand trial for murder next month, is back behind bars after a positive drug test for marijuana prompted a Franklin County judge to revoke his bond.

Harkey had been free on a $250,000 bond since Dec. 14, four days after prosecutors allege he fatally stabbed Jerry "Buddy" Conrad outside a Cape Girardeau bar. Earlier this month, Judge Gael Wood revoked Harkey's bond and remanded him to custody in the Franklin County Jail. The case is being heard there on a change of venue.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle and defense attorney Art Margulis both declined to comment on the positive drug test, except to say that it would not be brought up in court next month because it is irrelevant to the case. But each lawyer said they were hard at work preparing for the three-day trial that is set to start Sept. 26 in Union.

Harkey stands charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Harkey faces up to 30 years in prison or life without possibility of parole on the murder charge. Armed criminal action, added because a knife was used, carries a sentence of up to three years.

On Tuesday afternoon, Swingle was working on jury instructions and had several meetings with witnesses set up.

"We've been intensely preparing," Swingle said.

Margulis, the St. Louis lawyer who will represent Harkey, said he is readying his case in hopes of convincing a jury that Harkey was acting in self-defense when he stabbed the 25-year-old Conrad, who was found by police collapsed on the southeast corner of the Common Pleas Courthouse lawn with three stab wounds in the upper chest.

Witnesses have described the events that night as a bar fight turned bloody, with some saying the two initially fought in Rumors. Harkey himself called 911, saying he had just been in a fight and he "may have possibly stabbed someone."

According to police, Harkey told them that he had been kicked out of the downtown Cape Girardeau bar after the fight and returned 15 minutes later to pay his bar tab. That's when he ran into Conrad, who Harkey said chased him across the street. Specifics are few, but witnesses say Harkey ran up the hill toward the courthouse and Conrad followed him. More fighting ensued and then witnesses reported that Conrad collapsed. Police also found a knife on Harkey, who admitted it he had been using it to protect himself.

Emily Lindsay is the mother of two of Conrad's children, Madison, 6, and Trent, 4. Though she was no longer involved with Conrad at the time of his death, she's watched as her children have struggled to understand why their father is gone. Both have undergone counseling, she said.

Lindsay says she intends to be at the trial next month and she isn't looking for leniency for Harkey.

"I hope he gets life," she said. "He took their dad's life and he needs to get the maximum sentence."

Margulis said his client's family is not interested in talking about the case to the media, and Conrad's mother, Lisa Conrad, declined to comment through a relative.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

401 E. Main St., Union, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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