Fenner Case Update: Brooke Covington in Court

Monday morning, Brooke Covington made an appearance in Rutherford County court alongside her attorney David Teddy. Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers scheduled the meeting for a judge to rule on five pending motions in the Matthew Fenner assault case. This case stems from charges involving an incident on January 27, 2013 in the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

Brooke Covington is one of five individuals indicted with charges against them ranging from second degree kidnapping, assault and attempting to inflict injury by strangulation. Adam Bartley, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr., Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson are the others who were indicted. The case has been delayed beyond reasoning with pre-trial motions, rulings, and disqualification of the original WOFF attorneys attempting to represent all five defendants. The disqualification was appealed to the NC Court of Appeals and later withdrawn after one of the petitioners in the appeal, Sarah Anderson, left WOFF and requested new representation.

During Monday’s session, five motions were slated for review.
1. The Defendant’s Motion for Change of Venue;
2. The Defendant]s Motion for a Bill of Particulars;
3. The State’s Motion for Jury View & Testimony During Jury View;
4. The State’s Motion for Joinder of Offenses for Trial; and
5. The State’s Motion for the Alternative for a Special Venire.

The State’s Motion for Jury View required a notice sent to Joshua Farmer as he is known as the “general counsel’ for WOFF. However, attorney John W. Gresham was hired to represent WOFF in opposition to the motion. He has represented Jane Whaley in years past and it came as no surprise he was brought in for this hearing.

As ADA Byers gave the judge a recap of the case, he explained that Judge Thomas Davis has recused himself from the proceedings. Byers has originally scheduled the hearing for May 22nd, but rescheduled for April 24th upon learning that Judge Gary Gavenus was not available in May. Attorney Teddy used the rescheduling as a reason to request for further delay stating he was not prepared to argue the Change of Venue with all the recent publicity about WOFF.

At several points, Gresham attempted to interject his views that the Motion for Jury View was unconstitutional and that he was prepared to provide large photographs of the scene. Finally, Judge Gavenus rebuffed Gresham and told him not to worry about the Motion to View at this time.

The outcome included Judge Gavenus putting all parties on a two hour notice pending another unrelated case which was set to begin on Tuesday. Should that case conclude within the week, the attorneys would be given a two hour notice to appear in court ready to argue at least three of the motions; the Change of Venue, the Motion for Special Venire (jury pool) and the Motion for a Bill of Particulars. Judge Gavenus appeared frustrated that this case had languished for so long without moving forward. He seemed ready to do his part in helping the case along.

So, after about an hour of discussion, the case may be heard again this week or it may not. Hopes have been expressed that we will have another hearing on Thursday. One thing for certain, the small group of WOFF members in attendance did not exude the same jubilant confidence as in days past. Yes, there smirks of disgust as certain ones entered the courtroom or spoke, but overall the attitude was one of concern. Yes, this case has moved from an unlikely negative to the possible or probable serious chance for a negative outcome for WOFF and its leaders. There is no doubt who the unnamed defendant is in this case, right? Yes, she was there on Monday.

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(Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 598.

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