CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The driver charged in the death of Conway Officer Will McGary had his first court hearing Wednesday morning.
Police said Barry Strickland hit officer McGary while he was directing traffic in January. He is charged with first degree battery.
Strickland's lawyer Frank Shaw said a judge denied the prosecutor's request to increase Strickland's bond to $250,000. They asked for a higher bond since Officer McGary died. The initial bond for $150,000 was set before he passed away.
Strickland had already bonded out Friday and is living with his family in Bald Knob.
The judge Wednesday also added some restrictions for Strickland while he's out on bond. They include:
- He cannot drive any vehicle.
- He must live with his parents and nowhere else.
- He must make his treatment records with the Veterans Hospital in Little Rock available to prosecutors ASAP
- He must obey all laws of the United States, State of Arkansas, and all city or county ordinances.
- He must keep his bondsman advised of his current address, phone number, and work at all times.
- He cannot use or posses fire arms, alcohol, or controlled substances without prescription.
- He has to comply with no contact orders and/or orders of protection.
- He is subject to random drug screens.
His next court date is May 1 for a status hearing.
On Wednesday, THV 11 News learned more from friends, colleagues and fellow church members about Barry Strickland.
Support for Strickland poured out earlier Wednesday in court as he came before a judge about a bond issue. As many as 50 people were there for him standing in the hallways.
"A couple weeks before, he was here with his parents," Pastor Keith Lunceford said, who has known Strickland since he was a kid. His family joined the Park Avenue First Baptist Church in Searcy in the early 80's. "Up until he graduated from high school and entered the National Guard, he was here every Sunday. It was just part of the family ritual."
Strickland had an active church life in Searcy with Strickland's hometown in nearby Bald Knob.
"He played football for Bald Knob High School, played summer league baseball. He was likeable, energetic, outgoing, friendly young man," Pastor Lunceford said.
His pastor admitted that Strickland was a changed man, struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a tour in Iraq.
He added that Strickland was not an evil man out to harm Officer McGary.
"He is broken. He is broken. That's the best term I could use," Pastor Lunceford said.
"We go back from high school. We grew up together," Tia Stelly said.
Talking at her family's restaurant, Tia Stelly said her high school friend had a passion to protect early on.
"He would stick up for you, give you the shirt of his back, didn't like seeing people hurt, in trouble," Stelly said.
Strickland's post-military life became hard, and she said this crash adds to the struggle.
"You can't go back and change it. It's already done, but he really is a great guy that never meant for any of this to happen," Stelly said.
She also said she visited with Strickland Wednesday night. He's staying with his parents in Bald Knob after they bonded him out of jail this past Friday. Stelly said the number of times he expressed concern for the McGary family were too numerous to count. THV 11 also heard a lot of praise for Strickland's parents and how concerned they are as well for the victim's family.