Editor’s note: The original subheadline contained an error which stated the defendant had pleaded guilty to possession of BB gun. He pleaded not guilty to the BB gun possession, but did plead guilty to importation and possession of a 9mm handgun.
An American citizen charged with firearm offenses was bailed on Thursday so that he could travel to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma’s anticipated impact there.
David Dean Meadors, 52, first appeared before Justice Marlene Carter in her chambers on Wednesday, when he pleaded with the court to let him go back to Florida to safeguard his family, property and business from the looming hurricane, defense attorney Ben Tonner explained.
The judge considered the matter overnight and agreed to vary Meadors’s bail conditions to allow him to leave the island Thursday afternoon.
Before bail was discussed, Meadors entered pleas to the charges against him. He pleaded guilty to importation and possession of a Glock 9mm handgun in Cayman Brac without the required licenses on or before July 7, 2017. He pleaded not guilty to importation and possession of 240 rounds of 9mm ammunition, also on or before July 7.
A fifth charge was possession of an unlicensed Smith & Wesson BB gun at his Brac residence the same day.
As previously reported, the ammunition was discovered when a container was being checked by Customs officers at the site where the defendant was building a home for his planned retirement. The discovery and subsequent interview led to finding the guns.
In open court on Thursday, Mr. Tonner said Meadors had traveled from Cayman Brac on Wednesday and had surrendered his electronic monitoring device. He proposed to return to the Brac via Grand Cayman on Sept. 17.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright objected to bail because of the danger Meadors would not return. Having pleaded guilty to importation and possession of a firearm without the required licenses, Meadors was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years.
“I know the defense will say exceptional circumstances apply,” Mr. Wainwright continued. He indicated he would disagree. Most importations of unlicensed firearms are inadvertent, he pointed out. In this case, Meadors had told police that he and his wife traveled by boat and he would be uncomfortable without a weapon in international waters. Mr. Wainwright said someone facing seven years would have every reason not to return.
Justice Carter said she was minded to grant the application to vary bail to allow Meadors to travel on Sept. 7 and return Sept. 17. She ordered that the charge on Meadors’s Brac property be increased from $200,000 to $400,000. His travel documents were to be returned to him and he is to surrender them by Sept. 19 and be refitted with the electronic monitor by Sept. 20.
“Your counsel has persuaded me to allow you to travel for this specific purpose,” the judge told Meadors, who expressed his thanks.