Saturday, February 23, 2013

Franklin County judge increases school nurse's bond

Cathy Bennett is charged with conspiring to kill the ex-husband of a colleague.

Cathy Bennett

Cathy Bennett

Angela Nolen

Angela Nolen

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge on Friday overruled a bond set by a lower court in the case against a woman charged in a murder-for-hire case, according to a court clerk.

The bond for Cathy W. Bennett, 37, of Rocky Mount has been increased to $75,000, a $15,000 bump from the day before. Bennett, a Sontag Elementary School nurse, faces a charge of conspiring to kill the ex-husband of her colleague Angela Nolen, 47, of Moneta.

State police said Nolen was arrested Tuesday on a charge she approached an undercover agent posing as a hit man. Authorities said Nolen was prepared to pay the agent $8,000 to kill Paul Strickler, 63, of Moneta.

On Thursday in Franklin County General District Court, retired Judge Frank Greenwalt granted Bennett a $60,000 bond. Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen appealed that decision.

According to the conditions of Bennett's bond, she has been instructed to stay away from Sontag Elementary School and her co-workers.

The judge also set a curfew for her, one that would have her home by 9:30 p.m. but still allow her to work as a nurse at a Carilion Clinic facility near her home in Rocky Mount.

On Thursday, Franklin County Schools Superintendent March Church said Nolen and Bennett have been suspended from their jobs at Sontag Elementary without pay. He added that both women would be entitled to collect back pay if they are acquitted or if the charges are dismissed.

Church declined to comment about how long the women had been working for the school system.

Staff writer Duncan Adams contributed to this report.

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