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Vannis remains jailed, but request filed to lower bond

Susan Vannis of Corydon remained in jail yesterday with bond set at nearly $1 million, the amount she is accused of taking from her former employer, but a motion has been filed to lower that bond.
A hearing on the motion for bond reduction filed by Vannis’ defense attorney Michael Summers has been set for Thursday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m., when all of the parties, including special prosecutor Cynthia Winkler from Salem, can appear.
The request is before Harrison Superior Court Roger D. Davis, who was on vacation last week.
Senior Judge Jerome Jacobi of Clark County, sitting in for Davis on Thursday, set bond for Vannis at $968,747.58, the amount she is accused of embezzling from Dr. Paul Kelty, a Corydon obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered her triplets. Vannis, her husband and children, which includes an older brother to the triplets, were like family to Kelty, he said earlier. He was godfather to the children. Vannis had worked for him about 15 years and had been his office manager until about a year ago when the Indiana State Police investigation began.
After Thursday’s proceedings, Kelty said he was satisfied with the bond.
At the close of the hearing in Harrison Superior Court, Jacobi remanded Vannis, 46, to the custody of Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick.
Several members of her family sobbed as she was led from the courtroom by the sheriff.
Vannis is accused of seven counts of theft totaling nearly $1 million taken from the doctor over seven years, beginning in 2000. She allegedly used the doctor’s stamp to endorse checks, cashed some and deposited others.
Jacobi said during the time he spent as a prosecutor and 12 years on the bench, he had not heard allegations that such a large amount of money had been embezzled.
‘This amount is staggering, by my experience,’ Jacobi said.
He set bond for nearly four times the amount requested by the special prosecutor, after noting there was no way he could be sure the money used to make bond wouldn’t come from the amount Vannis is accused of taking.
Winkler had asked for bond to be set at $250,000 cash; Summers, through Vannis statements to the judge concerning her finances, sought $25,000, or 10 percent of a $250,000 cash bond.
Summers argued that the purpose of bond is not to require enough money to make restitution should a person be found guilty but to ensure the defendant would not flee the jurisdiction of the court or be a physical threat to anyone.
‘These are just allegations,’ he said.
The judge asked: ‘What would your position be if the alleged theft from an employer was $5,000?’
‘I’m not in a position to answer that,’ Summers said.
‘I can answer it for you,’ the judge replied. ‘Absent any other factors … according to the statutes, that might well be a very logical setting of bail.’
The judge found probable cause existed for Vannis’ arrest and set bond as previously stated.
He set the case for a pretrial conference on May 21 and trial on July 24.

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