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By David Knopf/Richmond News
Stanley Thompson, the Richmond attorney, in December requested and was granted a change of judge in his defense of Brandon Simpson. Simpson is charged with first-degree murder in the May strangulation death of Michelle Rheuport.
Thompson learned the state Supreme Court had appointed Larry Dale Harmon, a Clay County judge, to hear the case. What he didn’t know – or particularly care for – was that a hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 2 in Clay County, not Ray.
After some legal maneuvering, the case has since been moved to Jan. 10 in Ray Circuit Court, with Harmon on the bench.
Simpson was bound over to circuit court in October following his preliminary hearing. The Richmond graduate and state-champion wrestler is charged with three felonies related to Rheuport’s death May 23, as well as a subsequent misdemeanor assault charge.
He remains in custody on a $1 million bond at Ray County Jail.
Two co-defendants also remain in custody awaiting further legal action. James Gant and Lauren Gabbard, each held on a $100,000 bond, are charged with second-degree murder, burglary and stealing.