Hamlin – A video hearing for an imprisoned man was delayed today due to technical problems.
The attorney for Edward Jesse Dreyfuse could not make a connection with the Lincoln County courthouse, according to courthouse officials.
The attorney for Dreyfuse, former Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants, reportedly made repeated attempts to call the court without getting through. Bailiff Greg Hensley was likewise unable to reach the defense counsel.
Eventually, presiding Judge Jay Hoke ordered the hearing postponed.
Drefuse was convicted more than a decade ago of first-degree murder of Otis Clay Jr. The death took place in Huntington and Dreyfuse was tried and sentenced there.
Dreyfuse, generally acting as his own attorney, successfully challenged the conduct of his arrest and trial on appeal.
The state Supreme Court of Appeals eventually sent the case back to Cabell County.
Cabell’s circuit judges and its Prosecutor recused themselves, leading the case to be reassigned to Lincoln County.
A hearing had been held a few days ago with the defendant present in person. It was continued as the judge considered a motion by then-Prosecutor Jackie Stevens to allow the state to question an expert witness brought forward by the defense.
Stevens announced his retirement earlier this month and has been replaced by his assistant, Jeffrey Bowen.
After a half-hour of trying to make telephone contact, Hoke said the hearing would be postponed.
Shortly after 4 pm, Dreyfuse, who remained in his Northern Panhandle prison facility, managed to reach Plants by phone.
The two discussed Hoke’s directive that the hearing be rescheduled for a time when the expert, Dr. Lawrence Berger, can give video testimony.
Dreyfuse said Hoke’s bailiff assured him that the judge will issue a transport order so the defendant can be present for the next hearing.
According to a source close to Dreyfuse, when he reached Plants, the lawyer told him Berger would be available for a hearing on August 11 and 14.
“The next hearing will allow Dr. Berger to testify on record before the court and its spectators as to the stunning events and gross negligent medical malpractice that resulted in Mr. Clay’s death,” the Dreyfuse source said.
“The doctor will testify that Mr. Clay never suffered multiple facial fractures, a major skull fracture, or any exposed brain injuries resulting in death as the prosecution claimed,” the source added.
This is a developing story that will be updated as events warrant.