Coronavirus: Woman charged in ex-husband’s fatal shooting wants out of jail

A woman charged in the case in which her ex-husband was shot and killed in front of three of their sons wants out of jail because of coronavirus.

Tawnney Caldwell, who faces life in prison if convicted in the federal case against her, is asking a judge to reconsider her detention prior to her trial because she has a medical condition that could lead to her suffering complications if she gets COVID-19.

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She is charged in the case of Robert Caldwell, who was killed in a Riverside parking lot in 2017.

Tawnney Caldwell isn’t accused of pulling the trigger, but she is accused of aiding and abetting Sterling Roberts, the alleged gunman, according to a court document. She is in custody in the Shelby County Jail.

Four other people have been charged in connection to Robert Caldwell’s death, including Chance Deakin, Sterling Roberts’ brother. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison for his role.

In Tawnney Caldwell’s case, a defense motion points out that it is believed inmates in custody could be especially susceptible to getting coronavirus.

“The United States is in the early stages of a pandemic. COVID-19 is proving to be an extraordinarily contagious disease. These are not normal times. We are engaged in equally extraordinary and crucial efforts to contain it. Our success or failure literally may impact the lives of many in the community,” the motion says.

The defense motion says Tawnney Caldwell suffers from supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) which causes from time-to-time a rapid heartbeat.

“Generally, the heart continues to work normally, pumping blood through the body,” the motion says. “However, the effect of COVID-19 is not currently known, for obvious reasons, as the virus is new.”

The motion cites some studies that say COVID-19 can have fatal consequences for people with underlying cardiovascular diseases.

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However, prosecutors responded with their own filing Monday, saying Tawnney Caldwell should not be allowed out of jail.

“The nature and circumstances of defendant’s offense have not changed,” prosecutors said in the response. “The weight of the evidence against defendant has not changed. The history and characteristics of defendant have not changed. Her release would still present a danger to the community. She remains a flight risk. As a result, she should continue to be detained.”

This is the third time Tawnney Caldwell has asked a judge to release her from jail pending her trial, according to prosecutors. The first time was withdrawn by counsel before a ruling, according to prosecutors, but the second time was more recent.

On March 20, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose rejected her request to be let out of jail, saying in part that he couldn’t be assured the community would be safe if she was released.

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