Bail Granted for Woman Arrested After Handing Over Guns

A woman arrested Saturday on allegations she stole two firearms from her estranged husband’s home was granted bail Thursday for the most significant crime she is accused of committing.

County Judge Robert Fegers granted Courtney Taylor Irby’s request for bail Thursday morning at the Bartow courthouse as more than two dozen of her supporters — family and friends, church members at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Lakeland and her pastor, Tim Rice — sat inside and outside the courtroom.

Assistant State Attorney Roger Powell said neither the alleged victim, Joseph Irby, nor the state had any issue with granting bail. Fegers set bail at $5,000, ordered Irby not to possess a firearm, to keep distance from her husband and to make no contact. He encouraged Irby to use a proxy to contact her husband on issues related to their two children.

Bail had been previously set on two related felony allegations at $1,000 each, but she had been denied bail on an armed burglary allegation on account of the severity of the crime.

Irby, who is known by her middle name, entered her husband’s home in the hours after she testified in his bail hearing where she said she feared for her safety if he was released.

Courtney Taylor Irby Photos by Rob Christian Crosby

Joseph Irby, 35, was arrested Friday in Bartow on an allegation he used his vehicle as a weapon against her, a felony accusation.

Courtney Irby took two weapons, a handgun and a rifle, and turned them over to the Lakeland Police Department for safekeeping. She was then arrested on two allegations of grand theft of a firearm and one count of armed burglary, all felonies. She was transported to the county jail and denied bail.

At Thursday’s hearing, Irby’s attorney, Larry Shearer, stated that he did not believe her actions constituted theft and burglary under the definition of the crimes in state law. He did not challenge the series of events presented in the arrest affidavit.

Powell, the prosecutor, said that discovery is ongoing but “at a cursory glance” it appeared that Irby’s description of her actions and intent held up.

Joseph Irby and Courtney Irby are scheduled to appear at a hearing June 28 regarding two requests for restraining orders. Courtney Irby was granted a temporary order after her husband’s arrest. Joseph requested a temporary order on his wife after her arrest, but was denied pending the outcome of the June 28 hearing.

The arraignment in both criminal cases, where they will formally hear the state’s charges against them, is set for July 16.

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