Judge Won’t Adjust Bail For Couple Accused Of Abusing Girl

A judge has refused to reduce bail for a Madison husband and wife accused of torturing and starving the man’s teenage daughter.

Prosecutors say the couple denied the girl food and forced her to live in the basement. They’ve also accused her stepbrother of sexually assaulting her.

A court commissioner last month set cash bond for Chad Chritton at $22,500 and $30,000 for Malinda Drabek-Chritton. Their attorneys tried to persuade Dane County Circuit Judge Amy Smith on Friday to reduce the bond, arguing the couple doesn’t have the money and won’t flee. The pair’s attorneys argued their clients are being excessively punished for a probable cause case.

“I can’t understand why he’s not out on a recognizance bond. Who is he a threat to?” attorney William Hayes said.

“Their financial situation continues to deteriorate,” said attorney Thomas McClure. “They have legal obligations with their home, and they haven’t had an income now for 20 days. So, the court has to look at their ability to make bond. Otherwise, it’s excessive.”

Prosecutor Matthew Moeser disagreed with the defense attorneys.

“We think that the amount of cash previously set in this matter is consistent with Wisconsin’s bail statute with the severity of the charges here,” he said.

But Smith said they face serious charges, they appear to own a house and they’ve hired lawyers.

“It is fair to say that these are extraordinarily serious charges that these defendants are facing,” Smith said.

Smith scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 13.

McClure, who is Drabek-Chritton’s attorney, said this is a complicated case because of backgrounds and medical issues that he said he can’t discuss.

“I believe it’s a matter that was properly reviewed today and I think with a little more time and a little more investigation, there may be a time to re-visit that,” he said.

Prosecutors told the court that the allegations against the couple are just scratching the surface. They hinted at the possibility of more charges against the couple in the coming weeks.