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Date set for murder trial
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Accused of killing a friend who reportedly insulted his mother, Wesley Lex Leverett will face trial for first-degree murder in September for the death of Barry Cole.

Family members who prosecutors say conspired to help Leverett cover up the murder will be tried separately after the court decided to sever their cases.

The trial date for Leverett is set for Sept. 17, 2018. The trials of his mother, Deborah Daniels, and his grandparents, Dorothy Daniels and Charles C. Daniels, charged with accessory after the fact and destruction of evidence, will be held after Leverett’s.

Leverett, who remains held behind bars awaiting trial, is accused of beating Cole, 55, to death in February inside the victim’s tiny home on Morford Street in downtown McMinnville.

Prosecutors believe the men were hanging out when Cole said something insulting about Leverett’s mother. The defendant, they say, then struck the victim from behind with an object and then cut his throat.

The victim was found dead in the apartment a short time later. Leverett was arrested after lawmen received phone records from the victim’s phone which the accused killer had reportedly used to contact his mother shortly following the murder. Prosecutors believe his mother came to the scene and saw the body but did not report the crime.

“She received a call from her son on Barry Cole’s phone with her son telling her that he had hurt Barry and that he was ‘gone’ and he wanted her to come pick him up,” the affidavit for a search warrant says. “She went to Barry Cole’s home. He was lying face down on the floor. She then rolls him over and saw his throat had been cut and there were lacerations on his face.”

Investigators believe evidence was taken to Leverett’s grandparents who helped burn it. That includes the clothes the victim was wearing, the knife used to kill him, and a cellphone. The grandparents reportedly agreed to dispose of the items and not tell anyone.