Tag Archives: Adam Bartley

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.
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Fenner Case Update- Three Witnesses Testify for the State

At the close of Friday’s session, Judge Gary Gavenus announced with a smile that the jury was excused for the weekend recess. After two full days of witness testimony on behalf of the prosecution in the Matthew Fenner case, he ended with the often repeated precautions for the jury to not expose themselves to outside sources of information including news media, Internet or social media. He added they were not to talk to each other, family or anyone else about the case in any manner. His instructions were firm, but laced with an underlying tone of respect and consideration for the fourteen individuals who answered the call for this jury session.

This has been a full week as several Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) members, former church members, press correspondents and supporters endured two full days to select the needed jurors. After the last alternate juror was selected and the Judge gave the jury instructions; Matthew Fenner was the first witness called for the State on Thursday. He testified the rest of the day. As a result of each potential witness being sequestered (not present in the courtroom during any testimony of other witnesses), the gallery was less full than in the previous two days.

In an attempt to time my arrival, I missed the first part of Matthew’s testimony which included his description of the events of January 27, 2013. I was told by one who heard it; they believed it was emotional and impactful. I have not doubt. The part of Matthew’s testimony outlining the events leading up to his escape is where my notes start.
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Fenner Case Update: 7 Jurors Seated, 7 more needed

The first of possibly five separate trials in the Matthew Fenner case in Rutherford County began on Tuesday. Today’s session involved the State vs. Brooke McFadden Covington. By 9:51AM, Judge Gary Gavenus let everyone in the court know the Motion for a Change of Venue was “Denied!” He intended to move forward with jury selection, twelve jurors and two alternates.

Mrs. Covington is one of five defendants who include Justin Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley. Indictments stemming from alleged incidents on January 27, 2013 at Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in which Fenner claims he was assaulted include second-degree kidnapping, first degree assault and one count of attempted strangulation.

Leading up to the Judge’s announcement this morning was discussion which among other things included the question of plea deals or concessions to witnesses – of which Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers admitted there were none at this time after he had withdrawn the plea offered to Adam Bartley in prior months. Covington’s defense attorney David Teddy will be notified should any future deals or concessions be offered.

Additional conversation about one particular email between the State and an attorney for another defendant was reviewed by the Judge who then deemed it not pertinent to the case; sealed in an envelope and placed in the file. Judge Gavenus also outlined the procedure for interviewing jurors. They were to enter the court one at a time from the jury holding room. He would address them first, next Byers would asked questions and attorney Teddy would finish with his questions.

The left side of the courtroom was reserved for the jury pool. They were led in and out by the bailiff. He retrieved each new jury candidate and led them to their seat in the middle of the jury box. He directed their every step.

This arrangement meant the right side of the gallery was for everyone else. Everyone else included the distinct sub-groups, the media, now-WOFF members (leadership and those subpoenaed), ex-WOFF members (many who were witnesses) and family and supporters of Matthew. During the course of the day, it was clear each party knew the invisible boundaries which stood between the opposing groups. The signals became more confusing after lunch as Brooke’s supporters took the second row from the front behind the media and Matthew’s group filled in next with more now-WOFF members behind them. Yes, it was awkward.
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Fenner Hearing Reveals Queen(s) for the Day…..

Updated: December 9, 2016 10:31 AM
The Hearing held December 8th in the Fenner case answered some questions and left many still unanswered. By the time I entered Courtroom #2, the discussions of the State’s request for the Honorable Judge Marvin Pope to hear all cases related to the indictments were well under way. The Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) crowd was seated in the back right of the room close to the main entry door. This was not the normal front left position as in previous sessions. The media and others not affiliated with WOFF were sitting on the left side. Of course, I found a seat up about middle left.

Today was yet another small chapter in the ongoing saga of the Matthew Fenner case. Events from January 27, 2013 are in question. Five present and former WOFF members were formally indicted in January 2015. The indictments against Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. who are still members and Adam Bartley and Sarah Anderson, former members; include second degree kidnapping, first degree assault and one count of inflicting injury by attempted strangulation. After initially attempting to represent all five defendants, WOFF attorneys Joshua Farmer, Mark Morris and all their associates were disqualified by Judge Pope in August 2015.

As a result, all five defendants have separate counsel. Brooke Covington is represented by David Teddy. Justin Covington is represented by Krinn Evans. Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. is represented by Matthew Cabe. Sarah Covington is represented by the Cooper Firm. Adam Bartley is represented by Robert Denton who also represents Nicholas Anderson in his civil case for divorce and custody against Sarah. All five defendants and their counsel were present today.

Now, back to the hearing….
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Hearing Set in Matthew Fenner Case –Dec. 8th

Judges chair
Judges chair

Several events have colored this year with surprise and even shock. Unfortunately, the conclusion of the Matthew Fenner case has not been one of them. We roll our hopes forward to 2017. The next step in the process will be this Thursday, December 8th.

Rccatalyst.com recently reported the notice filed by Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers requesting four of the five defendants to appear and address pre-trial motions. Adam Bartley’s attorney, Robert Denton will not be available for the hearing and was not listed in the announcement.

This case stems from events of January 27, 2013 inside the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). Matthew alleges during a session of blasting deliverance prayer he was held against his will and assaulted including an attempt to strangle him. This form of prayer has been a controversial signature practice of WOFF since its inception over thirty years ago.
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Denton Withdraws Subpoena for Matthew Fenner

Early Wednesday morning, in the Nicholas Anderson versus Sarah Anderson divorce/custody case, attorney Robert Denton, representing the plaintiff, Nicholas Anderson, filed a “Withdrawal of: Motion to Compel Richard Matthew Fenner, III (to) Attend Deposition & Subpoena.” This turn of events occurred just slightly less than forty-eight hours after he filed a “Motion to Compel” Matthew Fenner to attend a deposition.

Monday’s Motion to Compel contained this statement about Matthew:

“Counsel seeks to depose (ask under oath) Mr. Fenner for the purposes of ascertaining Defendant’s (Sarah Anderson) character traits, propensities (tendencies), and the like, for violence.” [(- ) added ]

What happened to change his course? Without asking Mr. Denton directly, we do know he deposed Sarah Anderson on Tuesday for a lengthy session. What did he hear to change his mind? Apparently, he learned enough to reverse course and decide against putting Matthew under oath. He includes the following in his Withdrawal:

“…the undersigned (Denton) took the deposition of the Defendant on today’s date (Tuesday) and determined based on her testimony that at this time there is deposition necessary of Richard Matthew Fenner.”
Withdrawal of Motion to Compel
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Matthew Fenner Subpoenaed Again in Unrelated Case

Friday afternoon a Motion to Quash was filed in Rutherford County in the Anderson vs. Anderson divorce/custody case. (16 CVD 253). The Motion filed by attorney Paul Ditz seeks relief from the subpoena served on Matthew Fenner for a deposition hearing August 31, 2016 in Chapel Hill, NC. Ditz’s Motion included statements about the ongoing harassment of Matthew by members of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and their newest puppet attorney- Robert K. Denton. The Anderson vs. Anderson case involves Nicholas Anderson a present WOFF member versus Sarah Covington Anderson a former WOFF member.

Motion to Quash

Mr. Denton also represents Adam Bartley in the criminal case for Matthew Fenner’s allegations concerning incidents from January 27, 2013. In that case, five present and/or former members of WOFF were indicted on charges including second degree kidnapping, simple assault and assault inflicting injury by strangulation. These defendants include Brooke Covington, Justin Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. as well as Adam Bartley. The criminal case has been drawn out by pretrial motions and appeals. The next hearing date for the case is not known, but the most notable outcome thus far has been the Disqualification of WOFF bred attorneys – Joshua Farmer and Mark Morris and all their associates from representing any of the five defendants. Thus, we now see evidence of a puppet attorney – the honorable Robert Denton.
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