Judge halts murder trial in Warren County Christmas Day killing

Judge halts murder trial in Warren County Christmas Day killing

A murder trial already in the jury selection phase was postponed Monday because of questions about a defense attorney’s ability to represent his client.

Judge Robert Peeler continued the trial after calling the lawyers and Zackary Lee Wilson back into the courtroom during a break in jury selection.

Wilson is accused of murdering Jeremy T. Foxx, 24, of Carlisle, with a pistol as they drove on Dec. 25, 2016, allegedly to make a drug deal in Carlisle.

Peeler ordered a continuance after speaking with Wilson about whether he wanted to talk with his lawyer, Bill Fowler, before going forward with the jury selection and trial.

He said Fowler seemed “confused” during “several pauses” as he questioned potential jurors.

“I agree,” Wilson said.

Peeler said Wilson could continue with lawyer Jeff Stueve, who works with Fowler, or seek new lawyers.

The talk happened just before the two sides seemed ready to impanel the jury. Had the jury been selected, Peeler would have had to declare a mistrial.

Earlier, Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Delnicki quizzed prospective jurors about their knowledge of 9 mm handguns, methamphetamine and the limits of self defense in the case of a 26-year-old Warren County man charged in connection with a fatal Christmas Day shooting in Warren County.

Fowler, who has been practicing law since 1973, also questioned the jury, while Stueve sat nearby.

When the judge questioned Wilson about his defense, neither Fowler nor Stueve objected or offered further explanation.

Earlier this month, Wilson, a 2009 Franklin High School graduate living in Kings Mill, turned down an opportunity to plead guilty and receive an 18-year-to-life sentence.

The trial, scheduled to run through Thursday, was postponed, pending a conference to be held in 10 days.

A co-defendant, Allison E. Moore, 23, of Franklin, is serving a three-year prison sentence for tampering with evidence.

Wilson is also charged with tampering with evidence and discharging a firearm into a habitation.

It was one of an apparent record number of homicides in Warren County in 2016.

“Nobody can remember having this many homicides in the same year. That’s obviously not a statistic we’re happy about,” County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in January.

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