(St. Louis Police)

Cop Accused in Death of Fellow Office in Gun Game Freed on Bond

Officer Hendren will be on house arrest and must turn over all guns and his passport.

January 31, 2019 - 3:37 pm
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By JIM SALTER, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis police officer accused of playing a deadly variation of Russian roulette that killed a female colleague was freed on bail Thursday, but with stipulations that keep him homebound and without access to firearms.

Officer Nathaniel Hendren, 29, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the death of 24-year-old Officer Katlyn Alix.

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Hendren was freed from jail shortly after a hearing in which a judge agreed to a change that required Hendren to post only $10,000. He was originally held on $50,000 bond. Hendren, shackled at the arms and legs and surrounded by deputies for protection, sat with his head bowed during much of the court hearing. He did not speak.

Prosecutors allege that Hendren and a male colleague were on duty in the early hours of Jan. 24, but went to one of the officers' apartment for a reason that has not been explained. Alix, who was off-duty, met them there.

Charging documents say Hendren and Alix became involved in a dangerous game, taking turns pointing a gun loaded with one bullet at each other and pulling the trigger. Twice the gun didn't fire, but the third time, charging documents say, Hendren pulled the trigger and shot Alix in the chest.

Hendren's attorney, Talmage E. Newton IV, asked Circuit Judge David Roither at the morning hearing to allow Hendren to post 10 percent, or $5,000, of his original $50,000 bond.

Newton cited Hendren's four years as a Marine who served in Afghanistan, as well as his 14 months with the police department as evidence of his character. He told the judge Hendren had virtually no savings and could not possibly scrape together $50,000 for bail.

Roither instead raised bail to $100,000 but agreed to let Hendren be freed if he posts 10 percent, or $10,000. But Roither added stipulations: Hendren will be on house arrest and must turn over all guns and his passport.

Roither expressed dismay about the alleged carelessness of the crime. He noted that he is an avid hunter who often teaches others about the sport.

"You do not point a muzzle at anything you don't intend to shoot,'' Roither said.

The judge also heard emotional statements from Alix's husband, Anthony Meyer, and her sister, Jessica Durbin. Meyer spoke so softly it wasn't audible to the large crowd in the courtroom, which included several relatives of both Alix and Hendren as well as police officers.

Durbin said she lost her best friend. "There is a huge hole in my heart,'' she said.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Rachel Smith told the judge that Hendren's actions were ``an outrageous betrayal of public trust.''