BARDSTOWN, Ky. — A day after it was decided bail for the man charged in the Crystal Rogers’ murder would remain at $10 million, his attorney, Brian Butler, filed an appeal with the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Nelson County Circuit Court Judge Charles C. Simms III denied a motion by Houck to lower his bond on Monday, Oct. 10.

What You Need To Know

  • Judge denies bond reduction for Brooks Houck

  • Prosecutors say the $10 million is “unreasonable, punitive and oppressive.”

  • The judge cited four reasons for his refusal, including alleged illegal recording of grand jury proceedings

Butler, called the bond, “unreasonable, punitive and oppressive.” He requested bail to be lowered to $500,000 and to have Houck wear a GPS monitoring device and to not have contact with the Ballard family.

In deciding to keep the bond the same, Judge Simms cited four reasons. They were protecting cooperating witnesses, evidence of grand jury recordings, Houck’s financial status, the desire for a fair trial.

Judge Simms mentioned allegations from the prosecution that Nick Houck, Brooks’ brother, may have had the gun used to kill Rogers’ father, Tommy Ballard. Prosecutors say the gun is the same caliber as the one that killed Ballard, but it has also been confirmed to have four of the five criteria needed to be declared a match. The fifth criteria is still being tested.

Next Simms cited evidence members of the Houck family secretly recorded grand jury proceedings. Five family members were subpoenaed according to the motion. Grand Jury proceedings are private and individuals chosen at random to determine whether a person should face criminal charges.

One recording was allegedly made by Houck’s sister, Rhonda McIlvoy. According to court records, the man starts the recording equipment and says, “Nicholas can find it.” The transcript continues and says McIlvoy is concerned the equipment will start beeping. The man tells her, “it’s got brand new batteries in it.” The woman is heard saying, “you’re keeping it. Keep it out here.” The man says, “no, we need to hear it.”

Prosecutors say the man on the recording is Brooks.

The judge said posting bond shouldn’t be a hardship for Brooks since he is listed as the sole owner of three construction companies which own 83 properties in Nelson County, according to court documents. The tax assessment for some of those properties totals about $8.5 million.

Simms says he just wants both sides to get a fair and impartial trial. The motion said, “… the integrity of the entire proceeding is at stake when someone deliberately violates the criminal procedure.” This is a reference to the alleged grand jury recordings by members of the Houck family. 


The judge said because of the factors presented, he believes, “the bond is reasonable to assure Brooks’ appearance, to adequately protect cooperating witness(es) and other individuals associated with this case… “

Houck was arrested Sept. 27 by FBI of Louisville and Kentucky State Police for the disappearance of Rogers. She disappeared in July 2015 and Brooks Houck was the only person publicly identified as a suspect in the case. 

A pre-trial meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 8. Butler said he was uncertain if the defense would be ready for trial in 2024.

Butler added he intends to file a change of venue request at a later date.


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