The attorney for a man accused in a Simpson County homicide has requested to have a mediator appointed to help negotiate a resolution to the case.
Jordan Alford, 25, of Portland, Tenn., is charged with murder in the death of Damian Cook, 19, of Franklin.
Police said Cook was assaulted Aug. 7, 2018, in a garage at Broderson Mobile Home Community in Franklin.
Cook died from his injuries four days later at TriStar Skyline Medical Center in Nashville.
Alford, his sister and two other people faced criminal charges in connection with Cook’s death. The other three co-defendants have pleaded guilty to various counts.
Attorney Alan Simpson, who represents Alford, filed a motion Tuesday in Simpson Circuit Court to have the case subject to criminal mediation.
“I’ve had some success mediating some cases and I think this is one of those cases that would benefit from mediation,” Simpson said.
Mediation allows for the prosecution and defendant to negotiate a case out of court in a less formal setting, with the potential for a settlement that can be brought before the presiding judge, who has to approve the referral of a criminal case to a mediator.
In Kentucky, criminal mediators are retired judges with prior training and experience in mediation.
“On both sides of any homicide case there’s always a lot of emotions running and I think a mediator with experience is able to explain to both sides what the risks and benefits are of going to trial,” Simpson said. “I hope to find some resolution that is satisfactory to both sides.”
Alford’s sister, Amie Alford, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, accepting an offer to serve 15 years in prison.
The two other co-defendants, Willa-Jean Davenport and Alexis Oliphant, pleaded guilty in February to f0irst-degree wanton endangerment. Plea agreements in their cases recommend a five-year sentence.
Court records identify Jordan Alford as an uncle to Davenport and Oliphant, while Amie Alford is identified as Davenport’s mother and Oliphant’s aunt.
Davenport and Oliphant are accused of giving specific information to the Alfords that led to the physical confrontation with Cook that resulted in his death as well as aiding and abetting the Alfords in carrying out the fatal attack.
At a preliminary hearing in 2018 in Simpson District Court, Kentucky State Police Detective Joshua Amos testified about making contact with Davenport and Oliphant while canvassing the neighborhood after Cook’s assault.
Police learned Cook had been involved in a physical confrontation with Oliphant and another person the night before Cook was assaulted.
Amos testified that the confrontation was due to some thefts at the trailer park, and that Cook sent a threatening text message to Oliphant after the confrontation.
Oliphant and Davenport told police the Alfords traveled to the trailer park early on the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2018, parked several yards from the garage where Cook was sleeping, removed the license plate from the car and walked toward the garage.
Amos said the teens observed Jordan Alford remove a wooden object from the trunk of the car before walking to the garage.
“The witnesses could hear some kind of physical altercation taking place,” Amos testified in 2018.
A state medical examiner found blunt force trauma to Cook’s head and bruising on his legs, and determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma.