Thomas Birl, who was charged in August for the deadly shooting of a local couple, had a pre-trial conference date set for Feb 3, 2022 on Thursday.
Judge Cole Adams Maier presided over the Madison County Circuit Court criminal docket on Thursday, when Birl, 51, of Cadiz, was called.
Birl's attorney, Daniel E. Whitley, Sr., put in a plea of not guilty. Given the plea, Judge Maier set a pre-trial conference for Feb 3, 2022.
During the docket, Whitley also told Judge Maier they would be submitting a written motion regarding Birl’s bond, which was set at $5 million on Aug 9.
During Birl’s preliminary trial, Whitley made a motion to question the bond which had been set for Birl. Whitley argued the bond of $5 million was not realistic for “any American” to pay. He asked for an adjustment of the bond rate to around $250,000 to $300,000.
Given the severity of the case and charges, Judge Earl-Ray Neal said he found the bond set was constitutional and reasonable.
Whitley also said they were planning to file a motion for a competency evaluation.
On Sept 9, Birl was indicted on six felony charges by the Madison County Grand Jury of the Circuit Court, Division II. The charges include two counts of capital murder, first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence, first-degree criminal mischief, and receiving stolen property (firearm).
Birl was charged with these crimes after the murder of Chris and Gracie Hager on Aug 3, 2021, at a residence the couple owned on Keystone Drive in Richmond. On that day, there was a four-hour stand-off with officers where Birl also allegedly set fire to the residence to destroy evidence.
During Birl’s preliminary trial Detective Jason Friend said a witness to the event told officers the male victim came by to tell the witness there would be a possible change in ownership of the apartments and her rent might go up. The witness said she grew upset and Birl, “came walking down the stairs, didn’t say anything, drew a firearm and started firing on the victims,” according to Friend.
Judge Maier made it known if there are any which require the court’s attention before Feb 3, 2022, Whitley can re-notice it or docket it for an earlier court day, and the court will review it for whatever date Whitley noticed.