Several pre-trial meetings delayed
Several cases scheduled for pre-trial conferences saw the dates pushed back for a variety of reasons Tuesday.
With a jury trial date of Feb. 26, Chris Fitzpatrick's murder pre-trial conference was pushed back to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1.
Fitzpatrick is alleged to have been involved in an early morning beating on Aug. 28, 2012, of 59-year-old Edward Kitto, which led to his eventual passing on Sept. 8, 2012.
A class B felony charge of first degree robbery was added against Fitzpatrick on Aug. 30, 2012
Clay County Attorney Mike Houchins said the delay is attributed to a specially assigned judge for the case who was unavailable Tuesday. No new date for the postponed pre-trial meeting is available.
The pre-trial conference for a second man, alleged to have played a role in the murder of Kitto, Cody Millard, is currently scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.
Autopsy results in the Chase Foote case delayed the pre-trial conference.
"Until we get those, we're at a standstill," Houchins said.
Foote is currently being charged with willful injury for his alleged role in an altercation with Jefferson Wilbur on Sept. 1, 2012. Wilbur passed away Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.
"I talked to the state medical examiner's office; they needed a few additional reports. We sent those to them last week," Houchins explained.
He continued, "We expect it's the blunt force trauma that caused his death, but there could be other natural causes. They have to rule those out."
Houchins explained that based on the autopsy findings, the willful injury could become a homicide-related offense.
"It could go from a murder first to involuntary manslaughter. We'll have to see what fits," Houchins said.
Pre-trial conferences for Joshua Coenen and Caleb Stoever were also delayed as the two unrelated criminal cases are still awaiting completion of depositions.
Coenen is charged with third degree sexual abuse, and Stoever is charged with second degree sexual abuse and incest.
A pre-trial conference is where the court orders the state, the defendant and his attorney to get together, discuss the status of the case and establish some deadlines, Houchins explained.
"It's all scheduling and making sure everyone's on the same page as to how the case is going to move forward and whether we're going to trial or we're going to get a plea," Houchins said.
All four criminal cases have jury trials scheduled to begin Tuesday, Feb. 26.