Calhoun County Circuit Judge Brian Howell denied a continuance request on April 15 filed by Shaun Quinlan, attorney appointed to represent Nicholas Smith.
Smith, 24, is one of three men charged with kidnapping and murdering Wellborn Elementary School teacher Kevin Thompson, 29, of Jacksonville in April 2011.
Tyrone Thompson, a childhood friend of Kevin Thompson, and Jovon Gaston, are also charged with kidnapping Kevin Thompson and forcing him to withdraw money from several banks and ATMs in Jacksonville. The third-grade teacher’s body was discovered by police on U.S. 278 in Cherokee County nearly two days after he was reported missing.
Quinlan asked to reschedule the trial after he suffered a broken hip in a March accident.
Attempts to reach Quinlan Thursday were unsuccessful.
Howell said it’s important to keep this case on schedule because there’s another capital murder trial scheduled for later this year.
“If we can keep those going forward it’s beneficial for everybody involved,” Howell said.
The judge said it’s also difficult for families of the victim and defendant to prepare for a trial emotionally and mentally and then have the trial rescheduled.
Instead, Howell appointed another attorney, Tim Burgess, to the case to aide Quinlan.
“Tim has had prior experience,” Howell said. “He knows what to do to get this case ready for trial.”
Howell said he’s confident Burgess and Quinlan will work well together.
Lynn Hammond, Calhoun County assistant district attorney, said it’s not common for three attorneys to be appointed to a capital murder trial.
“But under the circumstances it is very appropriate,” Hammond said.
The trial is scheduled to begin June 24, Howell said.
Staff Writer Rachael Griffin: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RGriffin_Star.