Walton County's District Attorney Layla Zon confirmed that jury selection in the death penalty trial of Cory Butler has been set to begin the week of Oct. 22. Butler is one of the three Monroe men accused in the of Loganville.
Butler, John Jody Blackwell, Jr. and Barry Partee are facing the death penalty following the May 21, 2009 attack that resulted in the death of Ewing the following month. The men were arrested within a week of the attack and charged with malice murder, three counts of felony murder, aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of false imprisonment, armed robbery, burglary and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. Butler faces an additional charge of a convicted felon being in possession of a weapon.
According to earlier court testimony, Ewing’s husband knew Butler. The three men went to the Ewing's home on the pretext of wanting to purchase a truck. After taking the truck for a test drive, they are accused of forcing C.F. Ewing back into the home at gunpoint, where the elderly couple were allegedly beaten.
A neighbor called the police after seeing the subjects flee the scene. C.F. and Epsie Ewing were taken to the hospital. C.F. Ewing was released the following day, but his wife did not survive her injuries and died June 23, 2009. The family has been fragmented as a result of cirumstances surrounding the case. In earlier court testimony it was revealed that Butler was at the house the week before the alleged attacks with another woman who allegedly had a prior relationship with C.F. Ewing. According to family members, this has caused a rift in the family, which has been aggravated by the Zon said with motions being heard together for the three defendants, scheduling all the attorneys at the same time has not been easy. However, with motions in at least two of the cases now almost complete, and the date set for the first one to begin, Zon is hopeful that all three trials can be completed by the end of 2012.
"I hope that we can dispose of all three cases by the end of the year, but that may be a bit optimistic," Zon said, confirming that jury selection for Butler's case will begin Oct. 22 and the trial should be ready to begin the following week, Oct. 29. Zon said most of the motions, at least for Butler and Blackwell, were now complete.
"All but a jury challenge for the grand jury and traverse jury," Zon said.
It is, however, likely there will be more of a delay in the case of Partee since motions in his case had to be suspended Thursday when one of the court appointed attorneys failed to show up for court. Zon said she doesn't know when pretrial motions for Partee will resume.
"That depends on what happens with his counsel," Zon said.