Crime

Lexington murder trial rescheduled for next June

Trustin Jones, left, and Robert Guernsey
Trustin Jones, left, and Robert Guernsey

A trial of a potential death-penalty case has been moved from October to June, following a Fayette Circuit Court judge's decision on Thursday.

Judge Pamela Goodwine moved the trial of co-defendants Trustin B. Jones, 20, his cousin, Desmond Jones, 23, and Robert Guernsey, 33, from Oct. 6 to June 1. All three face the possibility of execution if convicted.

The three men are accused in the Sept. 3, 2013, murder and robbery of Derek Pelphrey, a Bluegrass Community and Technical College student. Pelphrey, 23, was shot to death as he sat in his car on Ridgepoint Road near Spangler Drive.

During a hearing Thursday, defense attorney Samuel Cox said he and co-counsel Kim Green needed more time to prepare for the case, particularly in regard to investigating the "mental-health issues" of their client, Trustin Jones.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrea Williams objected to the delay, saying the defense "have had a year to determine any mental-health issues."

Williams said the trial date had been scheduled since January, and that members of the Pelphrey family had already scheduled time when they could be off from their jobs to attend the trial.

Goodwine said she wanted the case to be tried in October, too, but she relented in changing the date because she didn't want the defense to appeal on the grounds that there was not enough time to investigate mitigating factors.

After a long bench conference between the judge and all the attorneys, Goodwine finally announced the new trial date. The trial is expected to go through June 26, 2015.

She scheduled an Oct. 14 hearing on motions that have already been submitted, including one filed by Cox to declare the death penalty unconstitutional.

Any new motions must be filed by Aug. 22, and the commonwealth will have until Sept. 15 to file a response.

"We will not continue this trial again," Goodwine said.

In another matter, Goodwine rejected a request to reduce the $60,000 bond of Desmond Jones.

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