By Kelsey Givens
A local man who allegedly attempted to kill his daughter’s boyfriend last month missed his first court appearance after making bail last week.
Randall D. Phelps, 68, was released from custody after he posted bond for the $50,000 bail setting he was being held on in the Nye County Detention Center on charges of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon.
He originally was taken into custody on the charges after he shot 35-year-old Benjamin Appleby in the head and abdomen outside a home at 6531 S. Camelot Ct., sending the other man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Phelps was scheduled to appear in Pahrump Justice Court at 9 a.m. Wednesday for a pretrial hearing in the case, but failed to appear.
His attorney, Tom Gibson, said it may be due to a miscommunication between him and his client that led to Phelps not being present for the mandatory court date.
“Well, he actually did contact me and we had an appointment, but I had to cancel because I needed to be in Vegas for another case, but the bottom line was I told him the general policy around here is if you’re not in custody we can get it moved. The problem is I did tell him we could get it moved,” Gibson told Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson. “I may have given him the impression that this date would not be a firm date since he got out, and usually that’s what happens, we move everything out when a person gets released.”
Deputy District Attorney Tierra Jones said she had planned to ask for a continuance anyway because she needed more time to talk with the defense about the case, but said she was highly disturbed someone facing such serious charges failed to appear for a court date he knew about while still in custody.
“And judge, the state is going to request a continuance, I apologize I have been out of town and me and Mr. Gibson have not had a chance to talk about this case; however, I never indicated in any way the defendant did not need to be here. And this is not shoplifting at Walmart, he shot this guy in the head. I think he needs to show up for his court appearances whether he’s in custody or not,” she said.
Jasperson agreed with the state, telling Gibson he was not pleased that his client was not present for a hearing in such a serious case. He agreed not to issue a bench warrant for Phelp’s arrest for failing to appear, but told the defense attorney to make sure his client understood he needed to be present at any and all court dates in the future whether he thought they were going to be canceled or not.
“I don’t have a problem granting a continuance because I know this is a case of a very serious nature … However, just for clarification for purposes of future court appearances, whether it’s been moved or not I want to see their face so I know you’re in contact and I know they know to be here and we don’t lose track or they fall through the cracks,” the judge said.
The date for a preliminary hearing in the case was continued from March 4 until June 27 at 9 a.m.