Murder trial delayed again

The jury trial for a man who has been jailed on a murder charge since his arrest more than 2½ years ago has again been reset.
But the judge who set a new trial date said there will be no more delays in that case.
A jury trial for David Leroy Bright was scheduled to get under way on Wednesday with jury selection.
Bright has been incarcerated in Fayette County Jail on $1-million bond since his arrest in January 2018 on first-degree murder charges.
Those charges allege that on Sept. 17, 2017, Bright struck James Skinner on the head with a sledgehammer, causing Skinner’s death.
During a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the status of the case, Judge Kimberly G. Koester noted that the office of Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison and Bright’s attorney, Public Defender William Starnes, had filed a joint motion asking that the trial be reset for the week of Sept. 21.
That motion, filed last Monday, stated that a key witness could not be located, and that the state’s attorney’s office “has not had adequate time to prepare based on her unavailability.”
Also, Starnes told Koester that there had been an issue with a COVID-19 positive test in his family.
Both of those issue have been resolved since that time, the judge learned on Tuesday.
Assistant State’s Attorney David Sternau told Koester that that witness had picked up her subpoena in Bond County last Wednesday, and that the prosecution is now ready for the trial.
Starnes said the COVID-19 issue with his family has been resolved, and that he also is ready.
Koester granted the continuance, but sternly told Sternau and Starnes that it would be the final delay.
“This court and the (circuit) clerk’s office took quite a bit of time to prepare for this trial,” Koester said, adding that arrangements had been made to begin jury selection this week at a site other than the courthouse.
She also noted the amount of time that has passed since Bright was arrested on the murder charge and that he has been in custody since that time.
“Absolutely … no continuances will be allowed,” Koester said.
While saying that the trial date is now firm, Koester set a final pretrial hearing for the morning of Sept. 10, telling Sternau and Starnes that she wants to have jury instructions for the trial and any motions related to the trial prepared by that date.

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