Champion murder trial delayed until 2017
TRIGG COUNTY, KY —
Ryan Champion’s trial is now scheduled for February 2017. He could face the death penalty in the October 2014 deaths of his mother, father, and the man police believe Champion hired to kill them.
He’s charged with four counts of murder and one count of kidnapping.
Champion’s defense team says it felt more time is needed to give him a fair trial. The lawyers have more than 1,600 pages to go through. Champion’s lawyers are also trying to get his military and adoption records. And, because their client could be sentenced to death, they say they want to give the case their full attention.
Friday was our first time hearing details of what took place in 2014. Hoping for justice, the Champion family had to relive the details of how their loved ones died in the courtroom.
Kentucky State Police Detective Brent Miller says a .45 caliber handgun was used to kill them. He said he also believes Facebook messages support a conspiracy to kill the Champion family. Investigators obtained messages with a warrant and letters of authenticity. The judge will determine if they’re usable in the trial at a later date. Miller also said witness testimony proves Champion had a hatred for his family and may have offered money for someone to kill them. Seven spent casings were found around the crime scene.
The evidence was heard Friday to determine whether it could be used in trial.
Public defenders Joanne Lynch and Audrey Woosnam asked for more time to build their case.
“We believe the judge made the right decision given that, if there is a jury paneled in this case, they’re going to be making a life and death situation,” Woosnam told Local 6.
Commonwealth Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins said she’s frustrated that she can’t go to trial sooner. “We have been spending a substantial amount of time preparing, getting ready to go to trial, getting subpoenas. We’re ready to go to trial.”
The defense asked for the trial to be in July 2017, but the judge determined that would be two years and 11 months after the murders, and that’s just too much time.