Doster hearing is held

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday at the Covington County Courthouse regarding Oscar Doster, one of two subjects facing numerous charges, including capital murder, stemming from incidents that took place following an escape by four inmates last November from the Covington County Jail.

Doster, along with Bobby O'Lee Phillips, Michael D. Barbaree and Charles Meeks, escaped from the jail through a ventilation system, and although Barbaree and Meeks were back in custody shortly following the escape, Doster and Phillips were the subject of a massive two-week search which ultimately concluded with their apprehension in Texas.

Before their capture, however, Doster and Phillips were linked to several possible crimes, including the alleged murder of Gantt resident Paul LeMaster on Nov. 6 of last year.

Doster, along with Phillips, face charges which include capital murder, escape in the first degree, theft of property in the first degree and criminal mischief in the first degree.

During Wednesday's hearing, several motions were presented by Doster's attorneys, Al Smith and William Carr, which are standard in capital murder trials, and Judge Ashley McKathan, who heard the motions did not rule on any of the issues and is taking them under submission. Covington County Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Gambril represented the state and the Covington County District Attorney's Office.

Among the motions presented were a motion to declare the death penalty unconstitutional,

a motion involving discovery, a motion to examine evidence and a motion to challenge the composition of the grand jury.

There was also no trial date set involving the Doster and Phillips charges.