A Week of New Court Dates, Disappointment and Sorrow

Professional and personal commitments kept me from posting updates about the Matthew Fenner case this past week. Rccatalyst.com has been one of the sources carrying updates. As a recap; June 10th – Judge Marvin Pope opened matters with setting June 20th for a deadline for pre-trial motions in the State versus Brooke Covington trial. He required any such motions be heard in Buncombe County on July 7th. The exception for that date was a Change of Venue Motion for which a separate date would be announced.

Attorney David Teddy filed a Motion for Continuance citing his preplanned vacation to Ireland during July and the necessity of reviewing transcripts from the first trial adding the expedited costs would run around $5,000. Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers said the Rule for such declaring reasons for a Continuance had not been properly met.

The result so far includes the latest date for trial in the State of North Carolina versus Brooke Covington is now set for September 11, 2017. I don’t know yet who the judge is for that judicial session. It will be interesting to learn and watch the events unfold through the summer.

As an observer, I understand the time and expense for obtaining a transcription of the first trial. My caution is that in an effort to expedite, that the assigned court reporter, Leanna Lynch, does not ask anyone affiliated with Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) to help in the completion of the request- for obvious reasons. Bridges Court Reporting is owned by Laura R. Bridges. She is a faithful WOFF member at last count having previously worked inside the Rutherford County Courthouse. There may be guidelines already in place to prevent such a mistake. I am not sure, but just wanted to make known my concerns.

The case stems from incidents on January 27, 2013 in the sanctuary and foyer of WOFF. Matthew Fenner alleges he was assaulted and moved against his will from which in January 2015 indictments for simple assault, second-degree kidnapping were filed against Brooke Covington, Sarah Anderson, Justin Covington, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley. An additional count of inflicting injury through strangulation was filed against Sarah Anderson.

After many months of pre-trial motions, attorney disqualification and appeals, the first trial of Brooke Covington earlier this spring ended in a mistrial after a juror delivered unapproved documents into the jury room. The juror, Perry Shade, was sentenced to thirty days in jail and a $500 fine for his actions. Today’s post is giving details of the ongoing events after the mistrial.

Also, with a heavy heart, I share the sad news of the passing of Rev. Robert “Bobby” Rape, Matthew’s grandfather. I count it an honor and joy to have known Bobby. In every encounter with him, he was a soft spoken, caring and loving man; a gentle soul. The online obituary is here. The gathering will be Tuesday at Harrelson’s Funeral Home with visitation at 6:00PM and the service to follow at 7:00PM.

Life is too short no matter the number of days. Hug your family and friends, tell them you love them and count each day as a gift. For those who pray- remember Matthew’s family during the days and weeks ahead.

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(Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 607.

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