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Defendant in murder trial has chance for plea bargain

Staff writer

Former Peabody resident Chad Carr, accused of killing his girlfriend’s 19-month-old son, will have an opportunity for a plea settlement.

A settlement conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 14. Settlement conferences are a process where a judge, other than 9th District judge Richard Walker who is trying the case, will hear both sides of the case and then each side will offer separate proposals moderated by the judge.

Settlement conferences are a year-old practice in Harvey County Court criminal cases. District Attorney and prosecuting attorney David Yoder said the procedure was used in a child rape case and other sex offense cases, although this is the first time it will be used in a murder trial.

Yoder said that settlement conferences are used in abuse cases so victims are not forced to testify. He said the cases always involve a prison sentence.

While all the previous cases that used a settlement conference reached a plea agreement, Yoder thought that was unlikely in this case.

“This one will be a tough one to negotiate a compromise,” he said.

The motion hearing in the case of the murder of Vincent Hill is scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 4.

An opening trial date is set for Jan. 24. Walker asked if the case could be tried in a week and Yoder thought that was possible. The state is bringing forth 17 potential witnesses and evidence that includes medical records, photographs, autopsy reports, police reports, dispatch tapes and logs, video recordings of interviews, evidence logs, and search warrants. Yoder said each of those exhibits will have dozens of sub exhibits.

The trials had to be worked around the defense attorney Charles O’Hara’s schedule. He has a murder trial starting Oct. 25 in Wichita and a federal case starting the Nov. 1.

The preliminary hearing in the child exploitation case also involving Carr was set for 9 a.m. Nov. 24. Harvey County District Attorney David Yoder submitted an amended complaint days prior to Friday changing the charges to three charges of child exploitation. Yoder’s primary witness, a Harvey County police officer, was on vacation Friday.

Last modified Oct. 20, 2010

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