Bond has been set at $1-million cash-only for a Columbia physician charged with raping a woman he met at a bar in October.
939 the Eagle News was in the courtroom for Friday afternoon’s emotional bond review hearing for 37-year-old Dr. Travis Birkhead, who also has ties to eastern Missouri’s Troy. Prosecutors say Birkhead met a woman in October at the Black and Gold tavern on Columbia’s Business Loop, and later raped her. Prosecutors describe Birkhead as a danger to the community.
Defense attorney Kevin O’Brien disagrees. Counselor O’Brien tells Judge Kevin Crane that the woman wouldn’t leave Birkhead’s house that night, saying she “went crazy.” O’Brien says there was no sexual assault and that Birkhead had to call Columbia Police to ask the woman to leave his home. Counselor O’Brien requested a bond reduction or for Birkhead to be released on his own recognizance. O’Brien tells the court that Dr. Birkhead’s home plan is in eastern Missouri’s Troy, near Wentzville. He says Birkhead wouldn’t have contact with the victim because he would be in Troy.
Boone County prosecutors tell Judge Crane that the victim is afraid Birkhead will come after her if he’s released, adding that he has a history of threatening people.
Friday’s hearing ended with Dr. Birkhead crying on video and telling the court he can’t afford a $1-million bond. He also says he’s missing his children’s birthdays. Defense attorney O’Brien told his client not to speak, saying he would handle speaking in court. But Birkhead continued and sobbed.
“Get him out of here,” Judge Crane then ordered bailiffs at the jail. Judge Crane sets bond at $1-million cash-only, and that bond includes several conditions such as no contact with the woman.
Prosecutors also say Birkhead is facing separate harassment charges in a case involving his ex-wife. Prosecutors tell Judge Crane that the ex-wife is terrified of Birkhead.