Today, attorneys for David and Travis Shane Smith argued the bail set for their clients was excessively high. After hearing from the defense and county prosecutors, the judge was swayed and reduced the bail.
In the motion to reduce bail, the judge agreed the defense made a compelling case. The Smiths’ attorneys placed emphasis on the apparent absence of any “cause and origin” report. To oversimplify, a cause and origin report is produced by an arson investigator. It states how a fire started and where it began. In their motion the defense argued, “Interestingly, in over 5,000 pages of written discovery provided to the defense there is no cause and origin report by an arson investigator/expert with an opinion as to the source or cause of the fire.”
When asked by the judge for the cause and origin, the prosecutor responded that the fire was “likely caused by a bullet and the origin is where they were.” When pressed further, the prosecutor stated that a forest service report is coming and it will be forwarded to the defense team upon receipt. She did not clarify whether cause and origin will be stated in that report.
The hearing was very contested and lasted over an hour. The defense stated that several other people were in the area where the fire began, with vehicles, and some of these individuals were in campsites with campfire rings. Further, they said, there is no evidence any witness saw either David or Travis Shane start the fire, and there are records of Travis Shane’s 911 call to report the blaze. The prosecution countered with social media posts of Travis Shane which, they allege, show a pattern of reckless behavior and gun use. They also argued several witnesses place the Smiths in the immediate vicinity of where the fire started.
In the end, the judge agreed with the defense that the $1 million dollar bail previously set was excessive. He reduced the amount to $50,000 for Travis Shane Smith and $25,000 for David Smith.
According to a brief interview with the defense team, the Smiths will likely be released from custody this evening.