Farmville residents react to hearing postponement

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Authorities in Farmville have postponed the hearing to set the trial date for quadruple murder suspect Richard McCroskey. The prosecutor says some evidence has yet to be sent to the state lab for testing.

At The Outer You Salon and Spa, last September's quadruple murder on First Avenue is still top gossip. But owner Anna Hall says people want to move on.

"The sooner we can get this over with and behind us, I think the better off we will be," said Hall.

But last Thursday, attorneys on both sides agreed to wait three more months to set a trial date for McCroskey. McCroskey's legal team also filed a motion for a psychological evaluation.

"People noticed him because he smelt, like really bad," said Farmville resident Amanda La Liberte.

La Liberte says McCroskey was spotted all over Farmville days before his arrest. She ran into him outside Debra Kelley's home.

"He was like, just asking us we should hang out some time, we should do this, and do that, and we were like, oh no and walked away," said La Liberte.

Pastor Mark Niederbrock, his estranged wife Debra Kelley, their daughter Emma and Emma's friend Melanie Wells were bludgeoned to death. The prosecutor says at the request of the state crime lab, evidence is being sent in stages for testing to avoid overwhelming lab technicians.

State crime lab officials couldn't talk about this case, but say they prioritize case work as best they can despite budget cuts.

"The last place you want to be holding physical evidence that is going to be analyzed for DNA is a police property room for the risk of cross contamination," said NBC12 Legal Analyst Steven Benjamin.

A motion for venue change hasn't been filed. McCroskey's attorney says he wants to hear what potential jurors might say first. Hall says Farmville residents should be given a chance.

"I think people here could be fair. I really do," said Hall.

April 20 is when we'll find out when this case goes to trial. The prosecutor says it likely won't take place until the fall at the earliest.

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