RUSSELLVILLE – A man accused in a deadly 2016 shooting is set to stand trial early next year in Logan County.
Demetrius Roberson, 25, returned Thursday to Logan Circuit Court for a pretrial conference in a case in which he is charged with murder, attempted murder, first-degree robbery and nine counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
Roberson is charged in the death of Lexus Bell, 21, who was shot Aug. 21, 2016, in her home at Robinwood Apartments on Highland Lick Road in Russellville.
Prosecutors are seeking life without parole for Roberson.
Thursday’s hearing was the first in the case before Logan Circuit Judge Joe Hendricks, who won election to the bench in November after the retirement of his predecessor, former Judge Tyler Gill.
During the hearing, Hendricks set Roberson’s trial for Jan. 11, 2021.
Logan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Neil Kerr estimated he would need about two weeks to present his case to a jury.
Attorney Samuel Cox, Roberson’s court-appointed public defender, said he wasn’t aware of any new witnesses that the defense had yet to interview in preparing for the trial.
Cox said there were “a lot of factors that would go into” how soon Roberson’s defense team would complete its interviews of known witnesses.
“I would hope we could complete those in a timely fashion, but it’s hard to predict,” Cox said.
Cox and Cheri Reidel, both of the state Department of Public Advocacy, were appointed in October to represent Roberson after his previous defense team was ordered off the case by Gill.
The case had previously been set for trial in August, but on the day the trial was to begin, Roberson’s former attorneys, public defenders Michael Bufkin and Audrey Woosnam, announced they weren’t ready to go forward, leading to their dismissal from the case.
Four other people have pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from Bell’s death.
Reba Kirk pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and complicity to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a term that could be reduced depending on the extent of her cooperation with authorities at Roberson’s trial.
Tayveon Bibb pleaded guilty to first-degree facilitation to robbery and received a five-year sentence.
Deon Young pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree robbery, accepting an offer recommending a five-year sentence.
Jordan Lunsford pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with physical evidence and was placed on pretrial diversion for five years.
Roberson is set to return to court March 25.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.