PARIS — The criminal trial for a Paris man accused of killing a 6-year-old boy in 2007 was rescheduled to begin Aug. 5.
Lewis "Buck" Ballard's trial was to begin Feb. 4, but defense attorneys said Thursday they needed more time to test forensic evidence.
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During a pretrial conference Thursday afternoon in Bourbon Circuit Court, Judge Rob Johnson, who had booked the entire month of February for the trial, expressed frustration over the continuance. The trial had already been moved from October to February because of delayed lab test results.
"This is probably one of the most important cases that any attorney, judge or jury is going to be a part of," Johnson said, adding that his frustration was not directed at any side.
He said he granted the continuance because it was necessary for a fair trial.
Police found the body of Wesley Dylan Mullins in a garage at 1406 Main Street in Paris, which has since been torn down, on Aug. 4, 2007.
In September 2007, Ballard, 50, was arrested and charged with first-degree sodomy and murder in Wesley's death.
Ballard lived with Wesley's grandfather, Bobby Mullins, whom the Winchester boy was visiting for the weekend. A grand jury indictment says Ballard killed Wesley "by repeatedly striking him in the head with a blunt object."
Investigators have declined to name the murder weapon, but have said that more than 40 pieces of evidence were sent to the Frankfort crime lab.
On Thursday, Johnson said the clerk's office had started preparing for the trial and had sent subpoenas to potential jurors. The judge said he was concerned that potential jurors would start to follow the case.
In December, Johnson denied defense attorneys' request to move the trial out of Bourbon County because of publicity.
Ballard's lawyer Jennifer Wittmeyer of Cynthiana said it took a year for the Kentucky State Police lab to test several pieces of evidence. Now Ballard's attorneys are having items tested at another lab, which could take six to 12 weeks.
Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw did not want the trial moved and offered to help find a lab that could get the tests completed sooner.