U.S. Park Police officer Paul Dwain Shepherd, accused in a plot to kidnap hotel and restaurant magnate J. Willard Marriott Sr. or Mrs. Marriott, was released from jail yesterday after posting a $20,000 unsecured bond.

In effect, Shepherd and his wife put up $20,000 equity in their White Plains, Md. home and the government would be able to move against the house in court if Shepherd failed to show up at further court proceedings.

Defense attorney William Garber won the release from Chief U.S. District Judge William B. Bryant after arguing that Shepherd should be able to make some sort of bond because of his long-time community ties.

"I'm not hypocritical enough to set a bond he can't make," Bryant said. "He's entitled to bail."

Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. had argued against any reduction of a $50,000 bond that had been set earlier by U.S. Magistrate Henry H. Hennedy Jr. He said the strength of the government's case against Shepard was such that he might be prompted to flee rather than face the charges against him.

Kennedy had agreed with Barcella, saying Shepherd's behavior over the last two weeks when he allegedly attempted to carry out the kidnaping plot was that of an "aberrant" man who could not be trusted.

Shepherd was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly made a telephone call to Mariott's son telling him of the kidnaping, which actually had been staged by FBI agents who were in on the plot.

Shepherd's brother, Bill, is still being held under $250,000 bond in Baltimore, investigators said late yesterday.

Paul Shepherd's next scheduled court appearance is before Magistrate Kennedy here at 1:30 p.m. Friday.