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JONATHAN L. FISCHER REPORTS FROM FAIRFAX:
After a lengthy preliminary hearing in Caralee Cottle‘s trial for the murder of Dirk Smiler, Cottle has been granted bond and could be released as soon as today. During the probable cause hearing in Fairfax’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Cottle’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, asked that his motion for bond, which had previously been denied, be re-heard.

Greenspun argued that since the last bond hearing Cottle has been undergoing mental health assessment and attending a day treatment program, so because of that and her standing in the community, plus the fact that she didn’t run after she was questioned the night of Smiler’s death and later turned herself in when charged with second-degree, he said she’s clearly not a flight risk and asked that bond be set.

Following several hours and testimonies, including from one of Cottle’s and Smiler’s former roommates, Judge Kimberly J. Daniel agreed there was probable cause and set Cottle’s bond at $50,000.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark J. Sullivan said that the prosecution hasn’t yet decided whether to appeal the bond ruling.

If the bond is met, Sullivan said, Cottle could be released as soon as today. “With the connections she has,” Sullivan said, he didn’t think that would be a problem for her, an apparent reference to Richard A. Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail pioneer for whom Cottle used to work.