The case against accused murderer James Barnes was set to go to trial on Monday, but has been delayed and instead moved to September 27 as a status conference.
The case was delayed because the Commonwealth’s Attorneys Office disqualified itself due to ethical considerations.
“This office has moved to be disqualified because of ethical considerations,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa?Reed. “I feel that I can not give 100 percent to this case, and this case deserves a commonwealth attorney and assistant commonwealth attorney both that can give 100 percent. This and every case deserves an attorney that can give 100 percent.”
Barnes, 35, of Dwarf, was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, murder, two counts of assault, and two counts of wanton endangerment.
The charges stemmed from a two vehicle accident Barnes was involved in on the first day of March of this year in Ary near Chaney’s Grocery that killed 34-year-old Marlene Shelton of Knott County. According to a police report prepared by the Kentucky State Police at the time of the accident, Barnes’ vehicle dropped off the road and while attempting to get it back on the roadway it crossed the centerline into the path of Shelton’s vehicle.
Due to the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Barnes was also charged with murder in Shelton’s death.
Barnes’ bond was also recently lowered. He filed a motion for a speedy trial in June, but withdrew the motion when his bond was lowered from a $250,000 to a $50,000 cash bond and home incarceration.
Barnes is set to back in court later this month where a new prosecutor could be present.