A man accused of shooting a woman to death while she was on a phone talking to an emergency dispatcher appeared in court Thursday on his own behalf and said that he thinks he should be appointed a public defender, even though he is out of jail after his family posted a $450,000 cash bond.
Dressed in a black suit, Richard Douglas Reinert, 28, appeared before District Judge Mary Jane McCalla Knisely and said that he disagrees with the assessment by the public defender’s office that he doesn’t qualify for a public defender.
The judge told him he can have the matter re-evaluated and scheduled a status hearing for July 31.
Reinert previously retained Billings attorneys Vernon and Cammi Woodward, but for unclear reasons they no longer represent Reinert.
In April, Knisely signed an order reducing Reinert’s bond from $750,000 to $450,000 and setting the conditions of his release from jail, which include that he must wear a GPS-tracking device.
A bond receipt filed June 6 indicates that Richard Douglas Reinert Sr., of Tallahassee, Fla., posted the younger Reinert’s $450,000 cash bond.
Plea of not guilty
Reinert pleaded not guilty on Jan. 6 to a count of deliberate homicide with a weapons enhancement in the Dec. 21 shooting death of 25-year-old Jessica Stephenson.
Court documents say Reinert shot Stephenson multiple times at his home in the Heights as she called 911 after Reinert pointed a gun at himself.
The incident was recorded by the 911 operations center. When she called, Stephenson told a dispatcher that she helped her friend bring her friend’s drunken husband, identified as Reinert, home from a bar that evening.
During the call, several gunshots could be heard and the dispatcher could no longer speak with Stephenson, charging documents state.
However, the line remained open and a different woman could be heard yelling, “You shot her, what are you doing?”
A man in the background could then be heard saying, “You made me do this,” and talking about pulling the trigger.
When officers went to the house, at 1247 Hawthorne Lane, they saw the door open and heard a woman screaming for help. Inside, they found Reinert with blood on his face and straddling a woman, later identified as his wife, according to charging documents.
In a nearby bedroom, police found Stephenson’s body, a semiautomatic handgun and spent shell casings, the affidavit states.
An autopsy determined that Stephenson suffered gunshot wounds to the head and body.
Reinert’s trial was recently rescheduled for Nov. 3.