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8:25 PM Sun, Jan. 20th

Ketchner seeks trial before new judge

Darrell Bryant Ketchner

Darrell Bryant Ketchner

KINGMAN – Darrell Bryant Ketchner, charged with the first-degree murder of Ariel Allison and convicted of attempted murder of Allison’s mother, Jennifer, is seeking to have his trial moved from the courtroom of Judge Rick Lambert.

Ketchner appeared telephonically on Monday as he is currently incarcerated. However, his attorney, Michael Reeves, did not file a written motion regarding the objection to Lambert’s court being on the case and was not present in person nor telephonically Monday due to being on a plane. That drew ire from Judge Lambert.

The judge said the hearing could have either been accelerated or continued, “but there’s no reason for that kind of conduct by counsel,” Lambert said of Reeves’ absence.

Prosecuting attorney Megan McCoy requested the defense file an official motion with the court regarding its objection, which was later ordered by Lambert. He said the case could go to Judge Derek Carlisle for reassignment, and that the case could go back to Judge Rick Williams or out of county.

“I really have no vested interest one way or the other, (whether) I preside over the trial or some other judge does,” Lambert said. “I just want this trial to get on track and not be sitting in limbo.”

Ketchner has a trial date set for May 6 in Mohave County Superior Court. Ketchner was sentenced to death in 2013 for killing Allison in July 2009, but an appellate court reversed the conviction in 2014 because of prejudicial testimony from a domestic violence expert.

The death penalty was pulled in Ketchner’s case in February, as according to the state, there is no speedy resolution for families of victims, the earliest trial date in the case would be 10 years after the event, and because of changes in the defense counsel delaying progress in the case.

Lambert set a status hearing in Ketchner’s case for 1:30 p.m. Jan 22.