Water main break, COVID-19 prompts murder trial postponement

Carson Barker, CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Carson Barker, CONTRIBUTED

A murder trial set to begin this week was continued after a pre-trial hearing was canceled because of the Dayton water main break and concerns about COVID-19 precautions interfering with the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The case against Carson Barker, 34, was set to go to trial today in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

He is charged with multiple counts of murder, felonious assault, discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability. Five of those charges include a firearm specification.

Barker is accused of shooting and killing Christopher Campbell in May 2019.

An affidavit says crews were called to West Second Street and Antioch Street and, through an investigation, learned that Campbell was shot but was able to drive away from the scene. He crashed into playground equipment behind Dayton Prep School, where authorities found him.

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He was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where he died.

In a motion to continue the trial, the defense said that a previous trial date was set for the week of April 20, but that was continued due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rescheduled. The motion then says in July, the state filed a motion regarding the testimony of a firearms expert, saying that he was not available for the week of the August trial.

The defense motion says the state and defense were able to come up with an agreement about the testimony.

“However, upon further reflection and discussion following the cancellation of the final pre-trial due to the closing of the courthouse after a water main break, defendant now agrees with the State’s initial assessment that (the expert) is a critical witness in this matter and would prefer to have him testify at trial as opposed to a reviewing supervisor,” the defense motion says.

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The defense also said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its continued risk to the health and safety of participants in the jury trial should also cause it to be delayed.

A new trial date has been set for February 2021.