Murder Trial for James Worley Rescheduled for 2018

The trial of James D. Worley, 57, accused of murder in the death of University of Toledo student, Sierah Joughin, originally scheduled for late September 2017 was rescheduled by Fulton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffery L. Robinson for January 16, 2018.

After Worley’s defense attorneys, led by Mark Berling, filed 52 pretrial motions with the Fulton County Common Pleas Court on March 6 and March 7, 2017 on behalf of their client in the potential death penalty case, Judge Jeffery L. Robinson delayed the start of Worley’s trial until January 2018 to allow time for additional hearing(s) on the new motions.

Attorney Mark Berling explained the rationale for the many pretrial motions:

“All of the motions are designed to protect his rights. There are a number of issues regarding jury instruction, formulation, and selection — that whole process. That case law evolves over time and we try to keep ahead of that.”

In addition to pretrial motions such as requesting that Worley be allowed to appear in court in civilian clothing and requesting the court’s instructions that the courtroom gallery remain silent throughout the trial, including emotional outbursts, the defense team has requested that Worley be allowed use of a laptop computer that would have information of his case only, would not have internet access and the accused man would have access to only in a private room, not his cell, at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio where Worley is being held.

Robinson ordered that all pretrial motions and jury instructions by both the defense and the prosecution by filed by March 31, 2017, after which June 7 and June 8, 2017, have been scheduled for hearings on those motions. On April 28, 2017, the court will hear Worley’s defense attorneys’ requests for funding of experts to use in defense of the charges against their client.

Sierah Joughin’s disappearance on July 19, 2016 while riding her bike home in rural Fulton County led to a community effort to find the 20-year-old young woman that ended when her remains were found on July 22, 2016. Worley had been arrested on abduction charges of the Metamora, Ohio resident even before her remains were found and identified.

Altogether, Worley will stand trial for two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, two counts of abduction and felonious assault, two counts of having weapons while under disability, two counts of aggravated robbery and four counts of kidnapping. In addition, the paroled Delta, Ohio man faces single counts of gross abuse of a corpse, possession of criminal tools and tampering with evidence. All charges are related to the abduction and death of Sierah Joughin.

Related Reading: Sierah Joughin Murder Suspect Had Hidden Room in Barn


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