A bar security guard accused of wounding another man in an exchange of gunfire last year saw his bond revoked Friday after police discovered him working at a pool hall — although his attorney said it wasn’t in a security role — and carrying a pair of handguns with him.
Robert Franklin St. Clair III, 57, will be held in jail until he appears for trial next month on charges of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in a felony for a June 2020 shooting that happened outside of the now-defunct Legends Sports Bar, where St. Clair worked as head of security, according to court papers.
The prosecution in the case said St. Clair and the victim, who authorities said was struck multiple times but survived, got into a dispute inside the bar that spilled outside.
St. Clair’s attorney, Tony Anderson, signaled that self-defense would be raised at trial. The police initially charged both men involved in the gunfire but the case against the wounded man was later dropped.
St. Clair was granted bond after his arrest last year, with a set of restrictions, including that he was not to work a security job while his case was pending and he was not to possess guns.
On Friday, authorities said he was in violation of those conditions, reporting in part that St. Clair had been seen by police two weeks earlier carrying a handgun in a waistband holster with a second handgun tucked into his back pocket. The handgun in his pocket had no magazine, according to police testimony. There was a magazine in the holstered handgun.
The sighting happened when St. Clair reported a trespassing complaint at Guys & Dolls Billiards on Williamson Road, where a staffer testified he was employed working in the establishment’s money cage, according to Friday’s proceedings.
The details of what prompted that call weren’t discussed but officers said they spoke with people on site who agreed to leave.
Anderson said St. Clair wasn’t working as a security guard, and pointed to his decision to call for police help rather than handling the incident on his own as support of that. Salem Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Pollard, serving as a special prosecutor in the case, bristled and said St. Clair appeared to be acting as a security presence in all but name.
The defense didn’t dispute that St. Clair was carrying guns in conflict with his bond conditions. Anderson conceded it was a violation but argued there had been no malicious intent behind it.
St. Clair didn’t use the guns or threaten to during the incident earlier this month, Anderson said.
“Rather, he called the police for help to remove any question of danger,” he said.
He asked the court to allow St. Clair to remain out, with heightened restrictions, or to hold him for a shortened period as a reprimand if officials felt it necessary.
Pollard said the terms of St. Clair’s release had been clear and he was in violation. He petitioned the court to revoke the bond and hold St. Clair until his trial date.
Roanoke Circuit Judge Onzlee Ware concluded the gun violations merited withdrawing the bond agreement.
“There have to be consequences,” Ware said. “… It’s either you abide by the rules or you don’t.”
St. Clair was taken into custody after the hearing. His case is currently set for trial Oct. 25.