Prosecutors say they won’t have any trouble placing the gun in the hand of accused killer Michael Cody Mills, 28.
Mental health issues are what’s delaying his trial on first-degree murder.
The jury trial for Mills, originally scheduled this month, is now on the docket for three days in early 2019, Jan. 29-31.
Mills has been charged for the shooting death of Bobby Ashburn, 43, in April 2017.
“The defense has an expert who plans to testify about his mindset and whether there could have been premeditation,” said District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis. “We’re going to conduct a mental health evaluation of our own.”
Asked whether the prosecution will be able to place the gun in Mills’ hand at the time of the shooting, Zavogiannis said, “That’s not a problem.”
The shooting took place outside a home on Cherry Springs Road in rural Centertown. Prosecutors contend Mills hit Ashburn with four gunshots from a 45-caliber pistol.
During preliminary hearing, Angela Pack said she and Ashburn, her fiancé, went to the home to check on Ashburn's daughter, Hannah Ashburn. Pack said everything was calm and they shook hands with Mills before engaging in conversation.
Pack said she stepped aside to talk to Hannah and was heading back when she heard Ashburn say something “in a frightened tone” before gunfire erupted.
A moment later, she saw Ashburn on the ground, bleeding profusely from the head. She stopped short of saying she saw Mills holding the gun, but instead said she saw him putting something under his shirt.
Pack testified she has no idea why Mills shot her fiancé. She was certain there were no sounds of yelling or fighting leading up to the shooting, noting everyone was standing in the backyard around cars.
Defense attorney Larry Bryant said a gunshot residue test was performed on his client to determine if he had recently fired a gun. Bryant said he has not received results from that test.
“It’s pretty evident this was a drug house and you always hear different stories when you’re dealing with a case like this because the witnesses are not exactly preachers,” said Bryant. “There were several people in the vicinity in terms of the shooting. We’re still conducting our investigation and awaiting the results of the gunshot residue test.”