A Sierra Vista man is contesting a judge’s Nov. 3 order that he must remain in the Cochise County jail until trial next year on charges of kidnapping and felony domestic violence causing injury, the fourth criminal complaint against him in 10 months involving the same woman.
Travis Jermaine Wells was indicted Oct. 30 for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend the week before in Sierra Vista during which her ear drum was injured, her hand was fractured, and her breathing was impeded. He filed a motion Tuesday challenging a Nov. 3 no-bail order issued by Judge James Conlogue who ruled Wells posed a substantial danger to the victim and had already violated conditions of release in two Pima County domestic violence cases.
Wells, 38, is alleged in the Pima County cases to have punctured the woman’s lung in early March and then kidnapped and threatened her with a knife later that month. Even if a Cochise County judge agrees to set a bail amount for Wells, prosecutors in Pima County could revoke his pretrial release in those cases.
Court records show Wells was previously cited by Sierra Vista officers for a January incident with the same woman, but the case was dismissed by the Sierra Vista Justice Court on April 3 at the request of the Cochise County Attorney’s Office. The reason given for the dismissal request is “Victim Declines To Prosecute.”
In that case, Wells was not cited until Feb. 21 when he showed up at the police station and then went directly to court with an attorney. He was released on his own recognizance after the victim appeared with Wells and stated she lied to officers about the January incident.
In Arizona, a victim does not have control on whether criminal charges are pursued, although it can be more difficult to proceed to trial without a victim’s cooperation. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions judges pushed back hearings and trial dates during the spring and summer, making it more difficult to move cases forward.
Arizona Daily Independent has verified that when the case was dismissed in April neither the prosecutor nor the judge knew Wells had already been indicted in Pima County for a March 5 incident in which the woman suffered a punctured lung. Or that the Tucson Police Department had named Wells as the suspect in alleged assaults occurring March 21 and March 29 against the same woman.
A Pima County judge initially ordered Wells held without bail in the two cases but after the Sierra Vista charges were dropped Wells appeared April 6 before another judge who set bail at $20,000 cash only.
Two months later Wells obtained an order from another Pima County judge further reducing bail to $5,000 to cover both cases after the victim supported a reduction. Wells was released from custody after posting a bail bond on June 18, but he was back in custody Oct. 28 after the woman told Sierra Vista officers she was restrained by Wells and assaulted several times Oct. 19 to Oct. 21.
Wells is expected to be back in a Cochise County courtroom next month on the bail issue and is set to stand trial early next year. Prosecutor Lori Zucco filed a notice with the court of Wells’ five prior felony convictions dating back to 2000, including an aggravated assault from 2003.
Meanwhile, Wells is not scheduled to appear in his Pima County cases until a Feb. 22, 2021 status conference. No trial date has been set in those cases although it is possible Wells could go before a jury on those March cases.
Under Arizona’s sentencing laws, if Wells is found guilty in the three cases he can be sentenced to consecutive prison terms because the offenses occurred at different times. Cochise County jail officials have been ordered by a judge to prevent Wells from placing calls to anyone except his court-appointed attorney.