Bail set at $500K cash, $1M bond for female defendant in Fulton County torture case

PHOTOGRAPHER:

STAN HUDY/LEADER-HERALD | PHOTO PROVIDED
Exterior of the historic Fulton County Courthouse on West Main Street in Johnstown on Monday. Inset: Nicole K. Elmore

Calling the alleged acts “some of the worst allegations I’ve seen,” a Fulton County Court judge set bail for Nicole K. Elmore at $500,000 cash and $1 million bond on Friday. 

Judge Michael W. Smrtic has heard and argued numerous cases in Fulton County since the 1990s as a defense lawyer and judge. He noted during Friday’s hearing that the bond amount in Elmore’s case must be secured by a 10% down payment.

Elmore, a 35-year-old Amsterdam resident, faces felony kidnapping, assault with the intent to disfigure and aggravated sexual abuse charges after she and her boyfriend, Justin J. Wilson, a 31-year-old Gloversville resident, allegedly kidnapped and tortured Wilson’s estranged wife for six days inside Elmore’s Town of Perth trailer, beginning on New Year’s Eve. During that time, Elmore and Wilson also allegedly took the woman to an Amsterdam motel, where they allegedly tried to drown her in a hot tub and forced her to put her head in a toilet filled with urine, according to court documents. Wilson, who faces the same charges as Elmore, has not requested bail. He and Elmore are being held in jail in Fulton County. 

Smrtic said the seriousness of the charges, which could carry a life sentence, make Elmore a potential flight risk. In addition, Elmore’s financial resources could enable her ability to flee, the judge noted. He said her financial status wasn’t clearly spelled out in the bail application, however the Fulton County District Attorney had pointed out Elmore’s potential assets. 

During the hearing, Elmore, through her attorney Cristopher Savino, said she has access to anywhere between $500,000 to $800,000 in stock and bond investments as a result of an inheritance, roughly $20,000 in a bank account, and a monthly income of about $2,000 from a house-cleaning business. 

“I don’t think you’ve been entirely honest with me in your application,” Smrtic said.  

Savino, who declined to comment further after the hearing, said during the hearing that the details of his client’s financial situation have been hard to nail down. The attorney opted to go forward with the request to set bail after the judge presented the option of amending the application and setting bail at a later date. It’s still possible to request an amended bail amount. 

Elmore, who wore an orange mask that often fell below her nose, had a stunned look in her eyes when she first walked into the courtroom. Throughout the hearing, she gained composure — making eye contact with her attorney as they spoke privately. At one point, Elmore looked over her shoulder and scanned the courtroom. 

Acting Fulton County District Attorney Amanda Nellis said the high bail is justified. She had previously asked for no bail, but, at Friday’s hearing, she requested bail be set at $1 million. 

“We obviously wish that it was a full remand, but we understand the new bail laws and [the judge] has to set some sort of bail,” she said. “That’s fairly high, but we think she’s going to post.”

Elmore and Wilson are next due in the Town of Perth Court on Feb. 7. At the county level, Nellis said the case was in the discovery phase, and that the cases against Elmore and Wilson would move forward once the investigation is complete. 

“Once everything gets gathered and everything gets shared between the parties, then we’ll be able to see how the case proceeds from that point,” she said. 

Nellis, like the judge, called this one of the most horrifying cases she’s seen in her career. She said the alleged victim has been cooperative.  

“This is one of the most heinous crimes I’ve seen in my over 10 years of being here,” Nellis said. “It’s a very strong case.”

Nellis said that the alleged victim is in fair health. 

“She is doing much better,” she said. “She did have surgeries, and at this point that’s all I’m going to say about her.”

 Andrew Waite can be reached at awaite@dailygazette.net and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.

By Andrew Waite

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