Phelps raises bond of alleged wife-stabber to $250,000, George: victim stabbed 26 times
Kenneth Doug McDaniel III waived formal arraignment in Woodford District Court Monday and entered a not guilty plea for the Oct. 6 alleged stabbing of his wife, Kathryn “Katy” McDaniel. The rest of the 13-minute hearing was devoted to the question of McDaniel’s bond, which had been set at $100,000. District Judge Mary Jane Phelps said before she made a decision about the bond, she wanted to know about Katy McDaniel’s condition, as she had heard she might not survive. Woodford County Attorney Alan George asked Katy’s grandfather, a retired Louisville plastic and hand surgeon, to speak. Dr. Morton Kasdan said Katy had multiple potentially fatal injuries, including stab wounds to her thorax, abdomen, a wound to her neck that just missed her carotid artery, and partial paralysis to a vocal cord. Phelps asked about her condition, to which Kasdan said, “As critical as you can get and still live.” Kasdan added that Katy had also developed problems in her legs that could lead to a potential pulmonary embolism. Surgery on her lungs and vocal cord could be necessary, he said, and even if she recovers, she’ll be permanently disfigured and have problems speaking. McDaniel’s attorney, Josh McWilliams, argued that McDaniel was only presently charged with first-degree assault, his only conviction was for no insurance, and asked Phelps to lower the bond to $50,000 full cash. “This isn’t a guy that’s a … frequent flier in the courtroom. … Prior to these allegations, he was well respected, a decent human being,” McWilliams said. If McDaniel could meet bond, he had local family members he could stay with, he said. George said while a $100,000 bond was not insignificant, in a case such as this, it was too low. “You basically just heard about Katy McDaniel’s medical condition. Were it not for her indomitable fighting spirit and tremendous resolve and will to live, Mr. McDaniel would be standing here today to be arraigned on a murder charge,” George said. He said both first-degree assault (which McDaniel is presently charged with) and attempted murder are Class B felonies. “Make no mistake, judge. This was attempted murder, even though the charge is currently assault first, and obviously we reserve the right to upgrade that in the unfortunate event that she passed …” George said. “This, judge, was probably the most savage, vicious, brutal act of domestic violence we’ve seen in Woodford County, at least in the 38 years I’ve prosecuted here.” George told the court that Katy was left in a pool of her own blood to call 9-1-1, while her husband fled to Floyd County, Ind., where he was arrested. McWilliams reiterated that the Commonwealth chose to charge McDaniel with first-degree assault rather than attempted murder, that he had no criminal record, and that he could wear a monitoring bracelet on his ankle while awaiting trial. He said it was not appropriate for the court to deviate from pre-trial rules used in setting his client’s initial bond. George responded that McDaniel proved by leaving the scene that he was a flight risk and asked Phelps to consider raising the bond to $500,000, or at least $250,000. “Having been a judge for over 20 years in this jurisdiction, I would have to say that this was one of the most serious domestic violence cases that I have ever seen,” Phelps said. She acknowledged McDaniel had a “relatively clean” criminal record, with only a traffic ticket or two, and that he has been a good citizen in Woodford County up to this point. She said while McDaniel’s pre-trial report showed him to be low-risk for failure to appear and as a danger to the community, she had to consider the serious nature of the offense and his flight out of state. “Although I don’t know the couple well, it saddens me because I’m the one that performed the wedding ceremony about three years ago. I’m glad to hear that the victim in this case is still alive … and I hope she does fight back and survive this attack …” Phelps said. She then raised the bond to $250,000. McDaniel was taken back to the Woodford County Detention Center, and a dozen or so of Katy’s family members gathered with police behind closed doors outside the courtroom. Afterwards, Katy’s aunt, Peggy Mandell, spoke to the media. She said she’d seen no indication of previous abuse in the marriage, that the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Lilly, was safe, and praised the courage of her niece. “ … Her resilience and strength to survive this heinous, vicious attack is a testament to who she is and how tough she is. And to anyone out there that is seeking help from domestic violence – break the silence, get help, ask someone for help. You are not alone. It is inexcusable, unacceptable, and it needs to stop,” Mandell said. She said she’d seen Katy in the hospital and that her niece was barely able to communicate. “My niece is a warrior. And she will get through, and she is strong, and I believe that when this was happening, she was thinking, ‘I’m going to live. I have a daughter, and I’m going to survive,” Mandell said. Asked about the charge McDaniel presently faces, she responded that she believed it would be increased. “He will be punished and serve his time, and I hope it’s forever,” Mandell said. McDaniel will be back in court again for a preliminary hearing Monday at 1:30 p.m. before District Judge Sarah Hays. If he doesn’t waive the hearing, detectives will share details of the attack. Another twist in the case wasn’t revealed in court: In 2012, Doug McDaniel’s sister, Katie McDaniel Coomer, was murdered by her husband, who then fatally shot himself.