Dorie Miller Murder Trial Delayed
The murder trial of Edward Smith-Allen has once again been delayed, this time from July to September.
Smith-Allen was indicted by a grand jury in October 2019 for the murder of Alaisia M. Smith in Dorie Miller Park in Lewisburg. Previously, Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dent pushed the trial from the original December 2020 date due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the county. The April trial was again delayed to July when West Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner informed the prosecution he would not be able to testify due to an ongoing illness. Greenbrier County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Via explained this was still the case.
“We became aware, early last week, that Allan Mock, … who performed the autopsy in this case and was identified as the state’s expert witness, had to extend his already existing medical leave that is going to prevent him from offering testimony until after August 30,” said Via. “… We explored the possibility of someone simply substituting for Dr. Mock, but frankly we found it to be impractical.”
Kristopher Faerber, Smith-Allen’s defense attorney, noted their desire to take the case to trial in the current term of court.
“We are ready for the July trial date,” said Faerber. “I will say that the state has been open and kept me up to date with Dr. Mock and by no means do I question his availability. We ask for a speedy trial and a trial in this term of court.”
Faeber requested bond for Smith-Allen once again, which was denied by Dent. Previously, a motion for bond was denied in June 2020, where Faerber asked he be placed on a $10,000 bond, released to the custody of his father, and placed in the Fayette County Home Incarceration program, citing his lack of previous criminal history. Another was denied in February after Smith-Allen found a potential residence in Greenbrier County. In addition to the public safety risk related to murder charges, Dent has also previously pointed to his initial arrest as a reason to deny bond.
A day after the shooting, a warrant was issued for Smith-Allen for wanton endangerment with a firearm. Smith-Allen turned himself in to the Lewisburg Police Department around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and was arraigned by the Greenbrier County Magistrate Court. Although he was initially released on a $5,000 bond for wanton endangerment, a warrant was issued shortly after for first-degree murder. By then, however, Smith-Allen had left West Virginia; he was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus, OH, on June 12, 2019. He was extradited back to Greenbrier County shortly after.
“The state opposes the motion,” argued Via in a previous bond hearing. “While it may be true that a condition of now having a suitable place for home confinement maybe true, the fact remains that this case was never suitable for home confinement ever. …. This is indicted as a murder, we are now right at [two months until] trial. There is no crime in our statutes more serious.”
Jury selection has also been accelerated — previously only 32 potential jurors could be in the room at the same time for jury selection. With COVID restrictions lifted, jury selection can proceed without social distancing.
The trial has been rescheduled for early September, within the same term of court as the expected July trial.