Thursday, July 25, 2024

Judge keeps bond at $100,000 in hit and run death in Martin City

| November 3, 2023 1:40 AM

Christopher Gilham’s voice broke as he remembered watching Kenneth James Floyd’s pickup truck run over his wife, Kimberly Gilham, on June 18 and drive off into the night.

“Everytime I see him, I just see his truck driving away … him just driving away slowly, knowing what he did and not having a care in the world,” Gilham said from the witness stand during Floyd’s bond modification hearing in Flathead County District Court on Thursday. 

Prosecutors filed a felony negligent homicide charge against Floyd on Oct. 3 in connection with the fatal incident in Martin City, though he was not booked into county jail until Oct. 18, according to Flathead County Detention Center records. 

“If he’s remorseful at all he would have done something before then,” Gilham said of Floyd’s delay in turning himself in to authorities.

“Not a care in the world,” Gilham repeated, shaking his head. 

Floyd pleaded not guilty to the charge before Judge Heidi Ulbricht earlier in the morning. Ulbricht set an omnibus hearing for March 13 with a pretrial conference to follow on June 7. The case is scheduled to go to trial later that month. 

Floyd appeared at his Nov. 2 arraignment in an orange long-sleeve county inmate shirt. He remains behind bars with bail set at $100,000. His attorney, Jami Rebsom, sought to have that amount lowered or see him released on his own recognizance shortly after he entered his plea. 

“The affidavit … indicates that this was an accident,” she told the court. “Mr. Floyd is being held on a $100,000 bond, which at this time he cannot post, so it is oppressive to him. He is entitled to reasonable bail.”

“The nature of this offense — negligent homicide — is a serious crime,” Deputy County Attorney Stacy Boman countered. “Bond is appropriate in that regard.”

Authorities responded to an alleyway between First Avenue North and Central Avenue about 1 a.m. after Christopher Gilham alerted law enforcement. They found Kimberly Gilham on the ground, complaining of pain and suffering serious injuries to her legs, court documents said. She succumbed to her wounds at Logan Health Medical Center, according to court documents. 

Christopher Gilham told investigators that arrived home to spot his wife sitting in Floyd’s four-door pickup truck, which was in the alley. Floyd and Kimberly Gilham were previously married, according to court documents. 

After Christopher Gilham yelled at Floyd for being at his house, Kimberly Gilham exited the truck and began walking around the hood, court documents said. That’s when Floyd allegedly shifted the pickup into drive. He ran over Kimberly Gilham and fled, court documents said. 

Much of Thursday’s bond modification hearing revolved around Floyd’s criminal history and his alleged past behavior toward women and alcoholism. Prosecutors pointed to drunk driving convictions in 2008 and 2017, as well as past charges of partner or family member assault and the two orders of protection taken out against Floyd, one still in effect. 

While Rebsom called no witnesses, prosecutors called Christopher Gilham, Nicole Stamp — Kimberly Gilham’s sister — and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office detective who led the investigation to the witness stand. 

“I mean, as far as public safety goes, it’s just women in general. His staying incarcerated is protection for the women in his life,” Stamp testified. “He’s a very abusive man.”

Stamp also accused Floyd of failing to support his children or current wife, and alleged he had a history of alcoholism. Stamp is guardian of Floyd’s son and reported receiving no financial help from him. What money Floyd made, Stamp said, went to drinking alcohol rather than his family. 

“It’s unfortunate that it took my sister dying for Kenny to be charged for hurting a woman,” Stamp said. “He is not a good person, judge … He needs to stay incarcerated.”

Rebsom took issue with the allegations raised by the prosecution’s witnesses.

“Mr. Floyd has been charged with negligent homicide; he was not charged with a domestic violence offense,” she argued. 

Rebsom painted Floyd as employed and willing to support his family. He has ties to the community, she said, and does not pose a flight risk. How can he support his family from behind bars, Rebsom questioned.

Boman highlighted the delay in Floyd turning himself in to authorities after prosecutors filed the charges as well as his actions after allegedly running over Kimberly Gilham. 

“There is also .. the concern of: Is the defendant a flight risk? Will he make his court appearances?” Boman told Ulbricht. “The allegation is the defendant struck Ms. Gilham with his vehicle and continued to drive away.”

Ulbricht sided with prosecutors, keeping bail set at $100,000, citing in part Floyd’s criminal history. She noted that Floyd had not presented the court with a rundown of his finances, meaning he might have the assets to secure his own freedom. 

In case of that eventuality, Ulbricht amended the conditions of his potential release, telling Floyd he would need to update the court with his future address, remain law abiding, abstain from alcohol and from visiting places where alcohol is served, drug use only with a prescription, and avoid victims and witnesses. 

If convicted of negligent homicide, Floyd faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $50,000 fine.