Sabine County, Texas-
Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton sent out a notice to family stating a "Motion to Continue" had been filed in the Matthew Edgar case. According to the document because of a new investigative lead. The document did not entail what type of lead. The court granted the motion, and reset the case for January 24, 2022. The trial was previously scheduled to begin in Sabine County 273 District Court on Oct. 18.
A Sabine County Grand Jury indicted 24- year old, Matthew Hoy Edgar on March 16, in connection to the murder of 19-year-old Livye Lewis on Oct. 31, 2020.
Sabine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton, and Roy Hughes Defense Attorney for Matthew Edgar, appeared before 273rd District Judge Jim Payne on Monday, Sept. 13.
Judge Payne informed all parties that due to COVID-19 the murder trial would be pushed back until October 18. "I have been made aware of how bad the COVID-19 outbreak is in the community," Judge Payne said. He added, the reset date decision is based on the safety concerns of jurors, and the public.
Edgar was not at the hearing, due to COVID 19. Judge Payne stated, the positivity rate could hinder the ability to have enough residents available to serve as jurors. "Jurors becoming infected with the virus while serving is also a concern," he said. "We are going to get this case to trial, none of us can do anything about the COVID-19 issue."
District Attorney Kevin Dutton stated the change could cause some issues getting expert witnesses scheduled for the new date. Judge Payne made it clear the trial date would not be changed to accommodate any witness.
One of the motions made by Edgar's attorney was to ask for the release of grand jury transcripts. "Several witnesses testified before the grand jury, and I'd like to know what they said," Hughes said.
District Attorney Kevin Dutton stated, he understood the reasoning but it seemed like a fishing expedition. Three witnesses were called during grand jury proceedings, and two were transcribed. The mother of the defendant, and his ex wife, Montana Bockel. "Ms Bockel's testimony is very important," Hughes said.
According to Chapter 20 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure grand jury proceedings are to be secret. It mandates that witnesses who testify before a grand jury cannot disclose their testimony outside the grand jury. The motion by Hughes for transcripts was denied.
A motion was also submitted at the hearing for a change of venue for the murder trial. "Lots of people have already made up their mind in the case," Edgar's attorney Roy Hughes stated. Hughes submitted affidavits from two residents supporting his change of venue motion. I don't believe he can get a fair trial in Sabine County, he said. Hughes stated the story had even been covered on a national level by Nancy Grace. "It's on the internet, Facebook, and other social media outlets," he added.
District Attorney Kevin Dutton submitted opposing testimony by Robert Hamilton. "He has lived here more than 75-years, and believes Edgar will get a fair trial here in Sabine County," Dutton said.
Hughes argued, the public has been exposed to prejudicial, and inflammatory information. "There was blood on Edgar's face in the mugshot that has been ran on the news repeatedly by KJAS radio in Jasper," he said.
Judge Payne denied the request for change of venue. He did recognize the motion could be reversed when the jury selection took place.
A Sabine County Grand Jury indicted 24- year old, Matthew Hoy Edgar on March 16 in connection to the murder of 19-year-old Livye Lewis.
The indictment alleges Edgar, "intentionally, and knowingly caused the death of Livye Heathyr Lewis"... "by discharging a rifle and striking her about the neck and upper body."
Matthew Edgar is schedule to stand trial for the Oct. 31, 2020, murder on Oct. 18, 2021.