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Motions dominate court time

WINTON – Pre-trial motions were heard here Monday on the first day of the capital murder trial in which Eric Alan Oakes stands charged.

Oakes, now 26, was arrested on April 7, 2003, after a nine-month investigation into the Ahoskie shooting death of Tyrelle Deshun Overton.

Overton, 20 at the time of his death, was shot and killed on July 13, 2002 in Ahoskie.

An attorney for Oakes, David Sutton, filed a motion to remove District 6B Attorney Valerie Asbell from the case based on conflict of interest, but that motion was denied by Judge William C. Griffin, Jr. who is presiding over this session of Hertford County Superior Court.

Also denied was a motion from the defense asking for a continuance and a motion to impose sanctions, which called for dismissal of the case or the elimination of the death penalty sought by the state in this murder case.

“This is a matter to put before the jury during trial.

If it’s not clear… then let them judge that,” Judge Griffin stated.

Judge Griffin allowed a motion to enable the defense to seek further testing on a white T-shirt worn by Overton at the time of his death.

He also granted a motion to compel discovery of all evidence to be shared by both parties.

On the prosecuting, side Asbell filed a motion to suppress certain evidence that was recently uncovered.

Judge Griffin reserved ruling on that motion until such time as the evidence is requested to be entered during the trial.

No further specific information is being printed by this publication at this time due to the fact that jury selection has not yet been completed.

Jury selection from a pool of over 200 Hertford County citizens is scheduled to begin today (Tuesday).

Judge Griffin stated Monday that in addition to the questions posed on a questionnaire and by the opposing councils, he will make sure that no juror has an absolute prejudice against the death penalty.

“We have to find out if anybody is absolutely opposed to capital punishment, because if so they should be excused since we would be wasting their time,” he noted.

The trial will resume at 9:30 a.m. this morning in the Superior Courtroom of the Hertford County Courthouse.