The court trial of Minerva resident Kenneth Blanchard has been rescheduled a second time and is now set to begin May 15, according to Carroll County Common Pleas Court records.
Blanchard, 68, of 612 N. Market Street, was charged on Sept. 7, 2016, for allegedly shooting to death 35-year-old Michael Fairchild, who was the boyfriend of Blanchard's daughter, Kenzi, on Aug. 31 at a mobile home Blanchard owns in Minerva.
Blanchard's trial was originally set to begin on Nov. 28 but was rescheduled to Feb. 6. The Carroll County Prosecutor's Office told The News Leader at that time that it filed the motion to reschedule the trial because it was awaiting additional forensic information.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Jakmides, who is representing Blanchard, said the trial was recently rescheduled for May because the results of the autopsy and toxicology tests on Fairchild are not yet completed.
Attorneys are also awaiting the coroner's final opinion based on the test results.
Jakmides noted that forensic tests are also being conducted on bed sheets retrieved from the mobile home in which Fairchild was killed and other items of evidence.
"Normally if this was a homicide case and Mr. Blanchard was in jail, these tests would be a higher priority item for the state to do and for the coroner's office, but since Mr. Blanchard is not in jail, they don't have the same time limitations operating against them," Jakmides stated.
"We set the trial date out far enough that there shouldn't be any reason at all for it not to go forward on that day," he added.
Carroll County prosecutor Steve Barnett confirmed that Jakmides requested the tests of additional evidence.
"The request to have the evidence tested was at Mr. Jakmides' request. To avoid any prejudice against his client, we didn't oppose it," Barnett said.
Blanchard was released from jail on a $10,000 bond after he pleaded not guilty at his Sept. 22 arraignment. He remains under house arrest with an electronic monitor at his expense.
Barnett told The News Leader earlier this month that his office had recently hired special prosecutor Paul Scarsella, of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, to help with the case.
Scarsella's designation as a special prosecutor enables him to work as one of Barnett's legal assistants on the case, said Barnett.
"It's an important enough case, and a serious case, and a good prosecutor always wants an extra set of hands to help," he said, noting that he requested the assistance in light of the recent retirement of former Carroll County Prosecutor Don Burns.
"It's not uncommon that prosecutors reach out to special prosecutors," he added.
The special prosecution division of the attorney general's office provides assistance to county prosecutors when they request the service, which is free of charge, said Barnett.