Defendants In Cole Thomas Case Make Appearance In Court

A bond reduction hearing was held today (Wednesday) at the Johnston County Courthouse in Smithfield for the men charged with concealment of a death in the disappearance of Cole Thomas in November 2016.

The 22 year-old Florida man disappeared in Benson 14 months ago and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Bond for one of the defendants, Rudolfo DeLeon Jr. of Mt. Olive was lowered from $750,000 to $500,000. His attorney had sought a bond of just $10,000.

Bail for Anthony Ridell James Jr., also of Mt. Olive, remained at $200,000 however a judge agreed to reconsider his attorney’s bond reduction request later this month.

Julian Valles Jr. of Dudley will still remain in jail under a $750,000 bond.  An attorney for the fourth defendant, Jeremy Carpenter of Minnesota requested additional time to review evidence in the case against his client.

Valles and James are also charged with obstructing justice in the investigation into Thomas’ disappearance by Benson Police and the NC SBI.   Several members of Thomas’ family from Florida were in the courtroom in Smithfield for today’s hearing.

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday they are treating the disappearance of Cole Thomas as a homicide investigation.