Coronavirus Puts Patrick Murphy Murder Trial Schedule in Jeopardy
The murder trial over the death of Pottsville businessman Patrick Murphy is likely to get pushed back again. This time, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Our source at the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office couldn’t confirm this is true but said the Patrick Murphy murder trial schedule seems very uncertain right now.
Currently, health officials consider Louisiana one of the nation’s “hot spots” of coronavirus activity. As of yesterday, 1,795 people in the state tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus and 65 have died.
Coronavirus Likely to Delay Patrick Murphy Murder Trial
Magen (aka Megan) Hall faces life in prison if she’s found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Pottsville businessman Patrick J. Murphy. She stands accused of killing the well-known local jeweler in February 2019 at a seedy hotel in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood.
In addition to the murder charge, Hall also faces charges of armed robbery and obstruction of justice. She’s been in an Orleans Parish jail since turning herself in to police in early-March 2019.
The trial schedule has already undergone numerous changes. Originally scheduled for Fall 2019, scheduling conflicts ultimately pushed the expected start date back to April 2020. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for April 9 with the trial to start on April 20.
But that pre-trial hearing, at this point, is not going to happen on time.
According to an Louisiana Supreme Court order handed down on March 16, criminal trial schedules are basically on hold in the state. Any jury trial scheduled to start between March 16 and March 27 were ordered continued.
Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson says, “First and foremost, we must handle this public health crisis in a way that protects the health and safety of everyone at our court facilities, while at the same time, to the extent possible, maintains access to the courts. To that end, we have issued this Order to allow access to the courts while balancing the need to be proactive in protecting those who work in and come in contact with those in the court system to help lessen the potential impact and spread of the coronavirus.”
Ken Daley, the communications director for Orleans Parish DA Leon Cannizzaro, says an updated order closed the Criminal District Court there until at least April 12.
Additional delays, including extensions on previous orders, could push the trial schedule back even further. And since this case involves witnesses and parties from multiple states, the future schedule could be affected by their ability to travel as well.
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