During Thursday’s hearing, Judge David Gregerson said $750,000 bail was appropriate because, despite the allegations being among the most serious, Bogdanov lacks criminal history.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes had requested a continuation of the no-bail hold or, alternatively, $6 million bail.
Hayes said the allegations show that Bogdanov has a propensity for violence and poses a risk to the community, particularly the LGBTQ community.
Kuhnhausen’s mother, Lisa Woods, also addressed the judge before bail was imposed. Woods said her daughter’s alleged killer does not deserve the chance to be released before trial.
“I want to stress that the LGBTQ community is not safe with this monster on the streets,” Woods said.
During Bogdanov’s first court appearance Dec. 18, a defense attorney said he’d be arguing against the no-bail condition. Since then, advocates for the transgender community have called on Clark County to support Kuhnhausen’s family and attend the bail hearing so that “Nikki’s murder cannot be brushed aside,” according to a post on the Facebook page “Justice For Nikki.”
Hundreds of people attended a Dec. 20 vigil for the teen at Vancouver United Church of Christ in Hazel Dell.
About a hundred supporters came out Thursday morning, lined up in the rain outside the county courthouse. They were encouraged to wear pink and remain civil. Once the basement courtroom was full, the remaining supporters were sent to another room on the fourth floor to watch Bogdanov’s hearing on live video.
The large group in the basement was quiet during the hearing, but there were several audible gasps when the judge set bail. Outside the courthouse, surrounded by supporters, Kuhnhausen’s family said they were disappointed and saddened by the judge’s decision.
“(Bogdanov) chose to kill her and then not (do) anything about it for six months,” such as confess or provide tips about the location of Kuhnhausen’s body, said Michelle Bart, president and co-founder of the Vancouver-based National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation. “He doesn’t deserve to be out on the street. And the judge was wrong. The judge was wrong in this particular case.”
Bart noted that bail was recently set at $2 million in an attempted murder case involving teenage suspects and a 66-year-old victim.
“Nikki Kuhnhausen did not get justice today. And this hurts me, because we spent so much resources looking for her,” Bart said. NWCAVE and others placed thousands of flyers around Clark County and Portland, and campaigned to keep Kuhnhausen’s disappearance in the public’s eye the entire time she was missing.
There is a lack of trust of law enforcement and the judicial process within the trans community, said Devon Rose Davis, a clinical social worker and activist from Portland working with NWCAVE.
No one is charged in more than 50 percent of the cases involving the murder of trans women nationwide, Davis said. According to the FBI’s 2018 Crime in the United States report, the clearance rate — the calculation of cases that end with an arrest or identification of a suspect who can’t be apprehended — for all murders and non-negligent homicides for that year was 62.3 percent.
“It is difficult as a member of the trans community … to take part in a process like this, knowing full well that these things usually do not go in my community’s favor,” she said. “We’re profoundly disappointed.”
Among Kuhnhausen’s supporters Thursday was Jamie Potter, a Portland resident whose own 17-year-old daughter is transgender. The judge’s decision on bail is tragic, he said.
His daughter transitioned at 7 years old. The experience has made him acutely aware of the challenges faced by LGBTQ people and the need to create change.
“Everybody deserves a chance at life. No one would choose to put themselves into this body, into this life. People are born this way, and they deserve the same respect as any of us do,” Potter said.