Luna trial delayed, Luna will serve as co-counsel

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - David Dycus

MARSHALL COUNTY, KY-   George Luna was back in Circuit Court Thursday, listening intently to the judge's every word.

George Luna was there requesting to be part of his own legal team.

 

"Your honor, I know this case better than anybody, probably. I've had nothing other to do than go over, back and forth, day and night. And I'm trying to come up to speed on what I can and can't ask," he told Judge Dennis Foust.

Luna was convicted in 2008 of killing Deborah Hendrickson in her Marshall County home in September 2007.  He was sentenced to life in prison but in November 2010 the Kentucky Supreme court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial.

Health issues recently forced Luna's lawyer to bow out. Nathan Goodrich, the new public defender on the case, has had just a few weeks to look at it. Luna told the court he wanted Goodrich to remain in a primary role.

"We get into something he does not have knowledge of or hasn't got to, or slips his mind, I feel as though I can step in," he said.

Goodrich did not mind Luna's request, but said the time constraints did concern him.

"I don't know I can get up to speed to Mr. Luna's satisfaction by January 7th," he said of the looming trial date.

In the end, Judge Foust agreed.  Luna's trial will now begin February 4th.

The judge says George Luna can serve as co-counsel at his second trial but warned there will not be a third, "If they do it your way and its detrimental to you, that's the end of the story."

The Commonwealth also presented several motions in court Thursday.  The Commonwealth wants to prohibit character evidence against victim Deborah Hendrickson.  Jeffrey Prather, with the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, said it was not relevant.  But the defense says it is. Proving Hendrickson's lifestyle, they say, could have meant someone else had a motive to harm her.   Another motion would obtain medical records from the night George Luna was arrested. The Commonwealth is looking to see whether or not Luna made any admissions to hospital staff that night.  A final motion would allow the Commonwealth to review any recordings made of those who may testify again.

Judge Foust says he will make a ruling on those motions next week.

The February 4th trial will take place in Trigg County.  A jury was unable to be seated earlier this year in Marshall County.

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