Local man to be released to house arrest with restrictions
Appearing before Seventh District Judge David Nye Friday, Jesse William Whipkey learned he will be released, awaiting his sentencing, under certain restrictions.
Whipkey has been incarcerated in the Bingham County Jail since February.
Whipkey pleaded guilty in June to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Initially charged with attempted murder, Whipkey had a three-day trial before he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.
During a heated family argument, Whipkey pointed a handgun at one of his daughters and pulled the trigger. There was no bullet in the chamber.
Restrictions include wearing an ankle monitor and only living in Gary and Janet Laird's home in Bannock County. A land line needs to be in the house for the ankle monitor to work properly.
Defense attorney Neal Randall said the Lairds have given their permission for the Whipkeysâ€”Jesse and his wife, Juneâ€”to live in the Laird's home because they are leaving town.
Whipkey may only leave the home for medical appointments and court hearings.
No weapons are in the house, Randall said. All weapons, including hunting knives, have been placed in a safe in the pump house.
Randall said only Janet Laird knows the combination.
"I have only hearsay information about the Lairds permission to allow the Whipkeys live in their house," said Judge Nye. "I need a signed affidavit from both of them before Whipkey will be released."
Included in the restrictions, Whipkey may not have any contact with his daughters, Amy Mayer and Amber Reines, his son-in-law Daryl Mayer and his sister, Pat Hess or her husband.
Police will check out the home, looking to make sure weapons are secured, before Whipkey can be released to await his sentencing.
"All he wants to do is be left alone and to live quietly with his wife," said his defense attorney. "He has had a stellar life to this point."
Bingham County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Andrew presented four letters requesting that Whipkey not be released.
Judge Nye questioned why he hadn't received the letters before this date.
Andrew replied, "That's how it's done down here."
Whipkey's sister, Pat Hess, took the stand to ask that her brother not be released.
"[My husband and I] have lived 100 yards from him for 30-some odd years," Hess said. "He has threatened me and my husband."
"Have you ever seen him shot anyone?" asked the defense attorney.
"No," said Hess.
"Has he made any threats to you that he's carried out?" asked the defense attorney.
"No," said Hess. "His attitude has been rotten his whole life."
"He pulled a gun on his daughter," Andrew said. "We are concerned he's not done."
"I have listened to the 911 tape," said Judge Nye. "It was primarily a family dispute. With no contact, they should be protected."
Speaking to Whipkey, the judge said, "If you make any contact with the people who have been designated, your fate will be sealed and you will be sent to prison."
Judge Nye released Whipkey to house arrest after the restrictions are met. Whipkey is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, Aug. 17.