HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - A former Homewood pastor charged with his wife's murder was released on bond early Friday evening.
Richard Shahan was released on a $100,000 bond a little before 5:30 p.m. and placed under house arrest at his mother's home in Homewood. A judge has also ordered that Shahan wear an electronic monitoring device.
A family member put his arm around Shahan and escorted him out of the Jefferson County Jail, telling reporters, "Jesus loves you." Shahan kept his head down and did not say anything while exiting the jail.
Shahan, 53, was charged on New Year's Day with the July 2013 murder of his wife Karen Shahan. He was taken into custody by Homeland Security agents at the Nashville International Airport as he was attempting to board a plane to Germany.
Shahan's attorneys maintain that he was leaving the country for a three-year-long mission trip, and say he is not a flight risk. His defense claims that he would have turned himself in if he had known about the murder warrant, which was signed in Jefferson County on Dec. 31, 2013.
State prosecutors said in court Thursday that Shahan planned to flee the country to start a new life with his boyfriend. They cite Shahan's alleged gay relationship as his motive for killing his wife at their home in the quiet neighborhood next door to the church where he worked as the children and families pastor.
Prosecutors say they've obtained 3,000 of Shahan's emails, including messages that indicate that Shahan planned to go to Russia from Germany and eventually become a citizen in the United Kingdom. Assistant DA Laura Poston said the former Baptist pastor planned to marry his boyfriend after fleeing the U.S.
When Shahan was arrested at the Nashville airport, he was carrying $27,000 in various currencies, including Euros, pounds and Kazakh money. Judge Shelly Watkins ruled that the U.S. dollars confiscated during Shahan's arrest be returned to him, along with any other belongings not covered in the search warrant.
Judge Watkins also ruled Thursday that Shahan cannot have his passport back while he is awaiting trial for his wife's murder.
Karen Shahan was found murdered in the couple's home on Hugh Circle in Homewood on July 23, 2013. Homewood police believe Shahan stabbed or cut his wife to death "on or about" July 22. State prosecutors say Shahan used a knife to violently stab his wife to death.
Shahn's preliminary court hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 5.