Jeffrey Danley has not been able to talk to, or visit with either his fiancee or his young daughter since his arrest in September 2022. Danley remains in county jail on $152,000 bond. He faces a manslaughter charge, as well as charges of felony battery and tampering with evidence.
In addition to setting his bond, a circuit court judge ordered Danley not to contact his future wife or her daughter because prosecutors fear Danley may try to coerce their testimony. Detectives say the child and her mother were present when Danley beat Richard David McBain III to death in front of their Sebring home.
Peter Brewer, Danley’s lawyer, asked the Sixth District Court of Appeal in April to order a lower bond and to lift the no-contact order.
The writ of habeas corpus was filed with the higher court on April 19.
“(The) $152,000 bond is 30 times the standard bond for a second degree felony. Admittedly, manslaughter is a dangerous crime, however Mr. Danley demonstrated sufficient ties to the community, lack of a serious prior record, and stable housing and employment,” Brewer argued in his motion to the appeal court.
To not allow Danley to speak with his family would hurt the family, he argued.
As for the no-contact order, “The practical effect is that Mr. Danley would not be able to communicate with his fiancée and an 8-year-old child who has looked at him as a father figure for the past three years,” Brewer wrote in his motion.
Brewer told Circuit Court Judge Angela Cowden on Jan. 17 that there had been no evidence or testimony that Danley had tried to sway the testimony of any witness in this case, including his fiancée and step-daughter.
Not only that, but a surveillance video of the attack the prosecution claimed to have during the bond hearing no longer exists, Brewer said. It purportedly shows the fiancee driving a vehicle blocking Danley as he’s dragging the victim down the street to the victim’s house.
Brewer, who viewed the video in discovery, says the video shows no such thing.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal reviewed Brewer’s motion. On May 15, the higher court responded to Brewer’s motion with a single sentence: “Petitioner’s petition of habeas corpus is hereby denied.”
The crime involved two neighbors on Walnut Street in Sebring: Danley, who lives at 400 Walnut St., and McBain, who lived at 335 Walnut St. The two – along with Danley’s girlfriend’s young daughter – went to dinner and returned to 400 Walnut St. around 9:40 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2022.
McBain, perhaps joking with the child, told her he’d shoot her if she tried to get out of the vehicle. She got out, ran to her mother, and cried in her arms. The child’s mother took her inside the house.
Danley got out of the vehicle, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door and punched McBain several times. When the girlfriend re-emerged from the house, she told police, Danley told her he’d split McBain’s head. All the while, McBain was laying on the other side of the vehicle on the street in front of Danley’s house.
Danley and his girlfriend allegedly left the unconscious McBain lying on the road in front of his house. The woman told police that McBain was still snoring when she checked on him around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.
Two of McBain’s friends found him laying in the street around 3:15 a.m. They drove him to the hospital but he was pronounced dead a short time later.