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New attorneys want Kimberly Sonanstine out of jail

Charges against the former Wallace College teacher stem from allegations that she molested a girl five years ago.
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:08 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Charges against a former Wallace College teacher stem from allegations that she molested a girl five years ago, per court documents obtained by News 4.

Kimberly Sonanstine faces 40 charges and has been held on bonds totaling $500,000 since her October 5 arrest.

Late Tuesday, her new attorneys filed motions asking Dale County District Judge Stanley Garner to lower those bonds.

“The bond amounts are excessive, and she is unable to post (the amount) currently set,” Raynor Clifton and T.J. Haywood said in court filings.

They point out that Sonanstine has no previous criminal history, and these charges involve acts that are alleged to have happened long ago.

“Mrs. Sonanstine is not a danger to the community, nor a flight risk,” the motion states.

Married with two children, she had been active in her church and praised for her teaching abilities at Wallace.

Then her world came crashing down.

Sonanstine went from decorated instructor to a Dale County inmate clad in an orange jumpsuit and led to court in handcuffs and shackles.

Acting on information they had received, state agents searched Sonanstine’s home in Ozark and, about the same time, went to Wallace College where they arrested her on charges that she repeatedly had sex with an underage girl.

In Haywood and Clifton, Sonanstine gets two bright, young attorneys with a plethora of experience. Clifton is a former prosecutor and Haywood a formidable defense attorney who has tried cases in both state and federal courts.

If they don’t secure a not guilty verdict for Sonanstine or get her charges reduced, she would face a stiff prison sentence and must register as a sex offender.

A preliminary hearing before Judge Garner is scheduled November 4 but, frequently, defendants waive those hearings which automatically send their cases to grand juries.

Prosecutors are expected to present evidence against Sonanstine to a Dale County Grand Jury on or about November 30 unless charges are dismissed at the preliminary hearing, which is unlikely.

That grand jury will decide if evidence is sufficient to take Sonanstine’s cases to trial.

Sonanstine, 38, is no longer on Wallace College’s staff.

The alleged victim did not attend Wallace, per sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.

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