Hearing to set trial date for Farmville murder suspect postponed

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) – The trial date for the Farmville murder suspect now won't be set until the spring, and it could take even longer before the high-profile case is ever presented to a jury.

April 20 is the new date for the hearing to set the trial date for Richard Sam McCroskey. Jim Ennis, the commonwealth's attorney in Prince Edward County, said the trial probably won't happen until the fall at the earliest.

The state lab requested the evidence be sent in waves. What hasn't been tested is locked away in the police evidence room.

Richard McCroskey was arrested four months ago at Richmond International Airport.

He accused of killing pastor Mark Niederbrock, Longwood University professor Debra Kelley, their daughter Emma and her friend Melanie Wells.

NBC12 legal analyst steven benjamin says sending evidence for testing in stages is concerning with a risk for cross contamination.

"This is a capital case and those cases take priority," he said. "There is so much at stake here for all sides there is no excuse that would justify the delaying of submission of evidence to the laboratory if it needs to be tested."

The director of the department of forensic science says the department is always playing catch up and even with budget cuts try to move things along and prioritize as best they can.

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