Murder trial continued to January

Published 1:58 am Saturday, October 18, 2014

The trial of three of the four people charged with the 20-year-old murder of James “Nibby” Barton will have to wait until January.

Four people were indicted in December 2013 for the 1994 death of the Heath convenience store owner.

On Friday, Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan heard from District Attorney Walt Merrell, along with attorneys for Eugene Wallace Black, Sandra Ellison Lynn and Sheila Williams, on the state’s motion to consolidate the cases.

The fourth suspect – Sheila Ellison Brooks – died.

Black is represented by Peter Bush; Lynn is represented by Meredith Peters and David Baker is representing Williams.

Merrell asked that the cases for each of the defendants for robbery and murder be consolidated.

However, Merrell expressed concern over a tape that would not be able to be used if Lynn’s case was consolidated with the other two.

“The tape is the only evidence against my client I’m aware of,” Bush said. “No way it can be consolidated.”

Baker said that Bush had asked for a speedy trial for Black, and said if the court determined a consolidation is OK, he would not yet be ready to go to trial. Baker’s client, Williams, was arrested on new drug charges earlier this week.

Black’s trial originally was scheduled to begin Monday.

Baker said he could be ready by the next available trial date, which is January.

Peters didn’t object to the consolidation, but said she didn’t necessarily consent due to the fact that she still hadn’t received all of the discovery.

Discovery is the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence that will be presented at a trial.

Merrell said he and Peters had discussed six things that she has not received regarding her client’s case.

“I haven’t had time to check on it,” he said.

Peters asked to schedule a time at which the attorneys could look at physical evidence.

Merrell agreed.

Merrell also said he and Peters had tried to have conversations about her client, but he has felt limited on how much he could discuss.

McKathan said he didn’t feel any present were in a position to go to trial next week.

McKathan also said he would take the consolidation under advisement.


“I expected everyone to be ready in January,” he said.

Additionally, Lynn took the stand to be questioned by McKathan to help determine if she is competent to stand trial.

The motion was continued until November.