MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A former Shelby County Sheriff's Office deputy has been granted bond, for the second time. But, during the court hearing Tuesday we learned a second Shelby County deputy has been named in connection with the former deputy's murder-for-hire indictment.
Federal Judge Tu Pham granted Jeremy Drewery bond. The bail amount is $25,000 and must be posted through a bail bondsman.
The bond hearing came after Drewery was accused of hiring a hitman to murder a witness. That happened after he was accused of trying to extort thousands of dollars from a drug dealer.
Testimony revealed the FBI became aware of the possible murder for hire plot after receiving a call from deputies in Shelby County. Drewery returned to court Tuesday for a bond hearing. His attorney said getting him out of jail was crucial.
"Absolutely critical to him," attorney Steve Farese said.
Farese said getting Drewery out of jail was in the best interest of Drewery.
"When you get ready for trial all of a sudden you have six new friends who want to come testify against you, who are trying to get help from the government," Farese said.
According to testimony in Federal Court, Drewery allegedly discussed the possible hiring of a hitman to kill a witness in the extortion case against him. Shelby County deputy Lonny Costello was named as being present during the alleged conversation.
An interview between Costello and FBI investigators was played in Federal Court.
In the interview, Costello confirmed he was present during the alleged conversation. FBI investigators said Costello, along with another person, met with Drewery at his home while he was out on bond the first time. An audio tape of the interview was played in court.
On the audio tape, Costello can be heard admitting to investigators that a meeting took place, but denied offering to loan Drewery money for the murder for hire plot.
WMC Action News 5 investigators reached out to the Shelby County Sheriff Office Public Information Officer about possible charges or disciplinary action against Costello, and we are waiting to hear back.
Investigators said they discovered evidence that Drewery, who also had a career as a professional poker player, accepted money from people between 2013 and 2016.