Several trial dates were set in Laurel Circuit Court during Thursday's session, with some of those expected to enter pleas to their charges.
Bridgette Renea Merritt, of Trussville, Alabama, is charged with second-degree manslaughter and first-degree trafficking in controlled substance stemming from a Sept. 11, 2020 incident in which she allegedly supplied fentanyl and heroin to a 41-year-old woman. The woman overdosed and died at the residence off Nu Way Trail. Merritt was taken into custody after police arrived at the scene and was later charged in the incident.
During Thursday's court hearings, Merritt's case was noted as being "open for negotiations until Sept. 7." Steele said on Tuesday that Merritt is expected to enter into a plea agreement on the charges, although he did not disclose what the plea would be.
The trial for Glenn Edward Brooks Jr. and Sarah M. Anders is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 8 although 27th Circuit Commonwealth's Attorney Jackie Steele said on Tuesday that negotiations for a possible plea were still ongoing that afternoon. The two are charged with incest for allegedly having sexual relations on July 23, 2016. The two are closely related, constituting the incest charge.
Debbie Susan Hammock, 58, was scheduled for trial on Wednesday (today) as well, but that trial has been postponed. Steele said there were some issues involving witnesses in the case so the trial will be reset for another time. Hammock is charged with first-degree assault for allegedly shooting a man in the head on June 26, 2020.
September 21 is the trial date for five people accused of breaking into a private residence and taking numerous items over a two-week period in September and early October last year. Dennis Michael Johnson, Ashley Nicole Jones, Frederick Eugene Wilt II, Johnny Lee Arthur and Robbie Bert Baker were all indicted in January 2020. Johnson, Jones and Baker are charged with second-degree burglary, with Wilt being charged with facilitation to the act. The five, along with Lori Ann Havelka, are also charged with theft over $500 for taking bedroom suites, a dining room table, living room furniture, mattresses, box springs and other household items between Sept. 25 and Oct. 3. Wilt and Baker are also charged with persistent felony offender, which could enhance any sentence they receive on the other charges.
Other trial dates set and the charges against the accused were:
• Joshua Blake Sizemore - trial date Sept. 17 on charges of theft over $500, second-degree burglary, kidnapping a minor, possession of controlled substance, theft of a motor vehicle registration decal, fourth-degree assault and criminal mischief.
• Kenneth Rose - jury trial set for Nov. 3 on charges of first-degree rape. Rose, 38, is charged with having sexual intercourse with a person just one month away from being 14 years of age.
• A motion to continue the jury trial for Casey D. Crawford was also sustained, with the new trial date set for Nov. 8. Crawford is charged with first-degree strangulation, unlawful imprisonment, second-degree wanton endangerment, fourth-degree assault and criminal trespassing.
Crawford allegedly held a female against her will inside a home in April of last year. He supposedly hit the female with his fist as well as strangling her. This took place while children were also inside the residence. The female was held an entire day, but escaped after Crawford fell asleep. She then contacted Laurel Dispatch. Police were also called and arrived at the scene where Crawford remained, with Crawford refusing to surrender to police. A standoff ensued with Laurel Sheriff's officials entering the home and finding Crawford hiding under some clothes in a rear bedroom of the home - with a pistol within his reach when officers located him. He was taken into custody on April 21.
• The trial date for Andrew Kyle Grigsby was also rescheduled during Thursday's hearings. Grigsby, who is charged with five counts of possession/viewing matter portraying a minor in a sexual performance, will now face a jury on Nov. 9.