Circuit Court Judge C.A. “Woody” Woodall presided over the conference, which lasted a little more than 30 minutes. A conflict between the defense and Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey was settled.
Before the conference, Jason Pfeil, assistant public advocate for Dunlap, apologized to Ovey in the jury room for issues related to a motion he and Defense Attorney James Gibson had filed on Friday, Nov. 6, asking Woodall to compel the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to turn over physical evidence for independent testing.
Gibson said he would provide Ovey with a list of the exhibits he wants a sample of by the end of the day. Pfeil said that he just wanted to make sure the trial would continue as scheduled.
“[Pfeil] apologized this morning … in open court, and it takes a man to do that,” Ovey said.
After the meeting, however, Pfeil told the media that while he had indeed apologized to Ovey, he didn’t regret filing the motion that had caused the row.
“It was construed, particularly by the media, that I was making some sort of personal attack against the Commonwealth’s Attorney, and that’s not what it was,” Pfeil said of the motion in question.
Gibson also brought up a previous motion that Woodall had denied that related to the questioning of potential jurors about their thoughts on the death penalty.
Dunlap, who wasn’t present at the conference, is currently being held in the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange, where he was taken last Monday.
He will stay there for 30 days while his competency to stand trial and his general mental condition are examined, said Ovey. Prior to that, Dunlap has been housed at the Christian County Jail since his arrest last October.
“He’ll be talking to doctors, psychiatrists, case workers, counselors, he’ll undergo a battery of tests, and at the end of that 30 day period, then they will make a decision within 10 days,” Ovey said. “They’ll put that in writing.”
A conference that could become a competency hearing, provided that report is finished in time, was set for Friday, Dec. 18, with pre-trial conferences also set for Friday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Jan. 8. The trial is still set for Tuesday, Feb. 9. All court dates will start at 9 a.m. at the Livingston County Courthouse in Smithland.
Ovey 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.
Dunlap, 36, of Hopkinsville, was charged in November 2008 with the Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 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 murdered the three children and 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.