John Schooley, designer of Verrückt water slide, pleads not guilty in Schlitterbahn case

Bond set at $500,000
Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 09, 2018

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — John Schooley arrived in Wyandotte County Court wearing a black and white jail jump suit.

It was a sharp contrast to his Schlitterbahn co-defendant Jeff Henry, who appeared in the same courtroom last week wearing a suit and tie.

Schooley and Henry are the designers of the Verrückt water slide.

The men are accused of being reckless in their design, and of knowing the slide was dangerous.

Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab died on the water slide in 2016.

Kansas City, Missouri, Attorney Justin Johnston argued Schooley's bond should be reduced from $500,000 to $250,000.

He argued Schooley willingly turned himself in after arriving in Dallas from a business trip in China and isn't a flight risk.

Johnston also said Schooley's wife and adult children live in the U.S., he has property in Texas and Alabama and retired from the Verrückt project in April 2015 with HSC Construction.

Johnston also said he had letters of support for Schooley from people in the amusement park construction industry

But Wyandotte County Judge Robert Burns ruled against reducing the bond.

Judge Burns said the bond was appropriate for the serious charges against Schooley and noted Schooley doesn't have any ties to the Kansas City metro area.

Judge Burns also ordered Schooley to give up his passport, which he volunteered to do.

As part of the bond, Schooley can't violate any laws.

After the hearing, Johnston and Assistant Attorney General Adam Zentner declined comment on the bond ruling.

Henry under investigation in separate Texas incident

Co-defendant Henry posted bond and flew back to Texas by private jet last week, where he became the subject of a misdemeanor threatening case in his hometown of New Braunfels. 

His attorney, Ron Barosso, told the 41 Action News Investigators last week Henry would speak to the police on Friday.

Barosso said Henry had allowed some people to stay on his property. While Henry was in custody, Barosso said those people burglarized and ransacked Henry's home, leading to the confrontation.

Barosso also said Henry planned to file charges against those people.

Three days later, New Braunfels Police Spokesman David Ferguson told the 41 Action News Investigators Henry had not spoken to police or filed charges.

Ferguson said Henry has not been charged with a crime.

Barosso said last week if Henry was charged with threatening, he thought Zentner would file a motion to revoke Henry's bond.

If that motion was successful, it would mean Henry would have to return to Kansas and stay in the Wyandotte County Jail while he waits for his trial.

Henry, Schooley and Schlitterbahn operator Tyler Miles, who's charged with manslaughter, are all scheduled to go on trial together beginning September 10.

Johnston said he reserved the right to file a motion to have a separate trial for Schooley.

A status conference in his case is scheduled for April 25.