CANTON — A Woodstock woman charged with threatening staff at Mill Creek Middle School with a gun last month was denied bond on Tuesday following a hearing before Superior Court Judge David Cannon.
Kimberly Bacon, 48, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of bringing a weapon onto school grounds, one count of misdemeanor battery, one count of criminal trespass, one count of cruelty to children, one count of violation of a family violence protective order, and one count of making terroristic threats. She was denied bond in a Nov. 7 initial court appearance before Cherokee County Chief Magistrate Judge James Drane.
“Bond should be granted and it should not be excessive,” Cannon said. “If there’s a case that illustrates the failures of our mental health system, this is it. I don’t have any way to monitor her. I understand that everyone is concerned and nobody wants her to be around the school.”
Cannon urged Bacon’s attorney Molly Mindy to work to develop a plan for her client that would include mental health treatment and safeguards for those who would feel threatened by her release, and then come back with another request for bond.
Cannon’s ruling came after a three-hour hearing in which witnesses asked for Bacon to be released and others who said they would fear for the safety of themselves and students at Mill Creek if Bacon was released from the Cherokee County jail, where she has been since her arrest.
According to police and court records:
Bacon was arrested on Nov. 6 after she reportedly went to the school at about 5 p.m. to speak to her daughter, who she did not have legal custody of and who was at the school for basketball practice. Bacon reportedly pointed a .45 caliber Glock 30 handgun at two school staff members. She also allegedly grabbed one of the staff members by the hair and threw her to the ground.
Bacon had been informed by a Cherokee County School District police officer in October that she was barred from the school campus. That move came after two days in a row in which she reportedly caused disturbances at the school and threatened suicide. The state Department of Family and Childrens Services was called in and Bacon’s daughter was placed in foster care.
Students were locked inside a locker room in the gymnasium for their safety and exited when Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies let them know it was safe. No one was injured.
According to testimony on Tuesday, from Cherokee County School District police investigator John Burns, Bacon went to the school and tried to enter the front of the locked gym. Went she wasn’t able to get in, she knocked on a side door and 7th grade girls basketball coach Brian Hohla cracked the door open and told Bacon she wasn’t allowed to be at the school.
Bacon told Hohla that she was there to say goodbye to her daughter, because Bacon planned to kill herself.
Assistant principal Stacey Krutz had seen Bacon pull up to the school in her car and went to the gym, Burns said. Krutz went outside with Bacon and shut the gym door behind her. An assistant coach had taken the players into the locker room when Bacon tried to enter.
Once outside, Bacon grabbed Krutz by the hair and threw her to the ground, Burns said on the witness stand. Hohla and Krutz then followed Bacon to her car, where she reportedly took out a pistol, cocked it and pointed it at them. Both ran back toward the school and later looked back to see Bacon pointing the gun at her own head, before leaving in her car.
Burns confirmed under questioning from Mindy that when Bacon was arrested a short time later that the gun was not loaded.
Prosecutor David Holmes had asked Cannon to deny bond.
“She represents a risk, including to herself,” Holmes said. “We’re talking about the safety of an entire community including, and most importantly, students.”
Mindy presented witnesses who said that Bacon has lived a law abiding life in Cherokee County for all of her 48 years and would not be a threat if released on bond.
Bacon’s cousin, Chris Hampton, of Chattanooga testified that Bacon had been a model citizen all her life, as she and her husband raised their three children. Hampton said Bacon had been the primary caregiver for both her mother, who died of cancer in 2016 and her husband, who died of cancer in 2017.
“She’s the poster child of a caring person,” Hampton said. “She has always been responsible, caring and loving. She has been through a lot.”
Hohla said that he feared for the safety of himself, his family and everyone at Mill Creek Middle School if Bacon is released.
He said the basketball program would be shut down for the rest of the year, if Bacon was released.
Another witness, later testified that the season was suspended the previous year because Bacon had threatened suicide in front of players, school staff and other parents.
At the time of her arrest, another Mill Creek parent had received a protective order against Bacon, who had allegedly made death threats toward the other parent.