Bond Set For Veteran Charged In Girlfriend's Death

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - by Jessica Kramer
- photo by Jessica Kramer

A $50,000 bond was set by Judge Clarence Shattuck for the release of Cody Gilliland, 29. The defendant was charged with criminally negligent homicide following the July 2 death of his fiancée, Lauren Bonnema, 25.

The incident happened at the Hidden Creek Apartments in East Brainerd shortly after 8 pm. Gilliland told police he had gone to look at a rifle in his bedroom. He said Ms. Bonnema was cooking dinner and her seven-month-old baby was playing in the living room.

The defendant said his dog followed him into the bedroom, and when he became upset, yelling and kicking at the dog, the gun went off. Police found Ms. Bonnema on the floor with a gunshot wound to the face. They said there was a blood-spattered bullet hole in the door of the master bedroom and that the AR 15 was soaked in blood.

During testimony on Tuesday, Gilliland told Judge Shattuck he had enlisted in the Marines in 2008 and saw action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He said he was honorably discharged and has suffered mental issues since serving, including intermittent explosive disorder and PTSD.

The defendant said he was hoping to make bond and stay at his mother’s house in Ringgold. Gilliland’s mother and other family members were present in court.

“He’s always a good kid,” said his mother. “Always laid back. Just a good person. Never got in any trouble. Just always a good person and always has been.”

District Attorney Andrew Coyle said the main considerations were that Gilliland “not be around any weapons” and have no contact with the victim’s family, including her seven-month-old daughter, who is now in the custody of her grandparents.

The defendant agreed to these terms through tears, saying he had planned to adopt the child. He also said he owns ten weapons but no longer has those in his possession. His mother also agreed to removing any guns from her home.

“We’ll do anything we have to,” she said.

“At this point in time, the charge is criminally negligent homicide,” said Judge Shattuck. “I don’t indicate any criminal intent but the fact is we still have a death involved.”

After setting the bond and conditions, arrangements were made to return some of the baby’s belongings, including a crib, to her grandparents.

“There’s no question this is a tragic thing that happened,” said Judge Shattuck. “It’s a tragic situation. All of it.”

Gilliland will return to court on Monday, Aug. 27.


Jeff Smith Is Winner Of Zarzour's Drawing For Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Glen Casada Chosen By House Republicans As Speaker

Corker, Menendez Demand Determination On Saudi Crown Prince Role In Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi


Jeff Smith is the winner of a drawing at Zarzour's Restaurant on the Southside for a set of the Chattanooga Photo Books, including the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. ... (click for more)

Rep. Glen Casada was chosen by House Republicans as House Speaker on Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Bill Dunn will be Speaker Pro Tempore. Rep. William Lamberth will serve as Majority Leader and ... (click for more)

In a letter to President Donald Trump, U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday demanded the administration ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Jeff Smith Is Winner Of Zarzour's Drawing For Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Jeff Smith is the winner of a drawing at Zarzour's Restaurant on the Southside for a set of the Chattanooga Photo Books, including the new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com. Mr. Smith, an employee of Tuftco, is one of the Zarzour's regulars. Chattanooga in Old Photos is the fourth book in the collection called the Chattanooga Photo Books. The others ... (click for more)

Glen Casada Chosen By House Republicans As Speaker

Rep. Glen Casada was chosen by House Republicans as House Speaker on Tuesday afternoon. Rep. Bill Dunn will be Speaker Pro Tempore. Rep. William Lamberth will serve as Majority Leader and Rep. Cameron Sexton as Republican Caucus Chair. Rep. Rick Tillis will be Majority Whip, Paul Sherrell the Floor Leader and Ron Gant Assistant Majority Leader. (click for more)

Opinion

HES Can't Be Matched, Replicated Or Cheaply Duplicated

As a volunteer at the Humane Educational Society for four years, I have first-hand knowledge of the work this organization does and the conditions it has to overcome to do it. The 118-year-old facility in which the administration, staff and volunteers work every day is at the end of its road. A new shelter space is more than warranted. The good news is that there are county funds ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Thanksgiving Request

Just what if … this Thursday you could say "Thank you" to someone who, chances are, you never met nor even heard the other’s name? There is also no way you’ll ever get a thank-you note, nor have your Sunday School class friends at church whisper how much they richly appreciated your kind thoughtfulness, secretly aquiver that you will not tell them what it was that earned such praise ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC's Mack Finalist For 2018 Buck Buchanan Award

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior defensive lineman Isaiah Mack has been named a finalist for the 2018 Buck Buchanan Award. A mid-season addition to the Watch List, Mack is one of 25 finalist that was pared down as voting began today. A part of the 2018 STATS FCS legacy awards, the Buchanan Award, presented to the national defensive player of the year in college ... (click for more)

UTC Athletics Prepares For Giving Tuesday

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Mocs Club announced that Chattanooga Athletics is participating in Giving Tuesday for the first time on November 27. The Mocs Club is using the day to launch its "Drive for 25" campaign. The campaign aims to raise $25,000 in scholarship funds for UTC student-athletes to which an anonymous donor has generously agreed to match. The ... (click for more)