Citing what he saw as the magnitude of the case, Woodall said they had been optimistic in setting the trial for Monday, Nov. 9, a little more than a year after the murders took place, and said the defense needs more time to conduct independent testing of the state’s evidence.
Woodall also said that while he didn’t want to postpone the trial, he thinks everyone will be better served by moving the trial back and having a solid date, as opposed to have a trial date that is iffy.
Woodall also granted a motion filed by Gibson to allow individual, or private voir dire of the jurors, as well as a jury questionnaire motion, but did not make a decision on the defense’s motion to increase the number of peremptory to 15 jurors instead of nine, nor did he decide on the motion to inquire into jurors’ views on the death penalty.
Trigg County Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey said he was not upset with the judge’s decision to continue the trial to February.
A pre-trial conference will still be held on Friday, Oct. 9, but the Wednesday, Nov. 4, hearing has been cancelled.
Dunlap, 36, of Hopkinsville, was charged in November last year with the Wednesday, Oct. 15, murder of Kayla Elayne Williams, 17, Kortney Lan McBurney-Frensley, 14, and Ethan Zane Frensley, 5, and the attempted murder of their mother, Kristy Frensley, as well as rape, kidnapping, burglary and tampering with evidence.
According to police, Dunlap not only murdered the three children but raped and tried to kill the mother, left her for dead and then set the house on fire in order to destroy evidence and cover up his actions.
Ovey has said he is seeking the death penalty in this case.
Hearings in the case have been held at the Livingston County Judicial Center in Smithland. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins had earlier said that a change of venue was sought because of all of the pre-trial publicity, which she said could possibly be grounds for an appeal if Dunlap is convicted.