After more than two years behind bars, 79-year-old Burrell Mohler Sr. is being released pending his trial on charges he molested young relatives three decades ago.
With a big smile on his face, after nearly 2 1/2 years in jail, Mohler is a free man. He walked out of the Clay County Jail in Liberty just before 1 p.m. Friday with his attorney and a relative by his side.
"No comment. Just happy to be out," said Mohler's lawyer, Kim Benjamin, when asked if there was anything his client could say.
The lawyer said Mohler was happy to see the sun shining again and to be able to eat a meal with his family.
Mohler and four of his sons are facing charges of molesting relatives 30 years ago on the family farm.
Friday in court, Benjamin told the judge her client was rotting in jail while his trial continued to be delayed because the victims refuse to hand over copies of their medical records. She wants the testimony of those victims thrown out, questioning the validity of their repressed memories.
"They are the records that would prove no one ever was abused. If you are physically abused at a tender young age, under the age of five, hundreds of times and you supposedly had a baby at 11 years old. Give me one witness that can validate any of those stories," said the defense attorney.
The prosecution contested this request.
While the judge was listening to the motion to throw out the testimony, he suddenly granted Mohler's release on bond that obligates him to show up for further court proceedings. The judge still has to make a ruling on that motion and Mohler is due back in court in July to face the charges in this case.
Relatives of Mohler who didn't want to be identified were surprised and relieved by the judge's move.
"We're happy he's out," said one.
"We're just happy Burrell's out," said another when asked if they were expecting the judge to let him go today. "I had no idea what was going to transpire today. I didn't even know what motions were going to be heard. Just came out to support."
One of Mohler's four sons, David Mohler, was in court Friday as well, but the judge postponed his hearing until Tuesday to hear the motions filed by his defense in the case.
Burrell Mohler was released on his own personal recognizance. He must return to court on July 20.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.