Snow blocks path of murder hearings

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Snow forced cancellation of two Feb. 27 hearings for murder suspects Brandon Simpson and James Gant, but not because the roads to Carrollton were impassable.

The men, charged in the May 2012 death of Richmond resident Michelle Rheuport, were to make their first appearances in Carroll County since Judge Larry Harman granted a change of venue for Simpson.

Simpson’s attorney, Stanley Thompson, argued earlier last month that pre-trial publicity in Ray and Clay counties had tainted his client’s right to a fair trial. Harman, a judge from Clay County assigned to the case by the state, had no objection moving the proceedings to Carroll.

As a matter of convenience for Harman, Gant attorney Willis Toney agreed to move his client’s Feb. 27 motion hearing to Carrollton – even though Toney has to date not sought a change of venue.

Then the weather intervened. Harman cancelled the scheduled hearings after snow forced a delay in a trial under way in Liberty that Harman was overseeing.

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