Several pending homicide cases continue to be victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and are causing delays in cases being tried in Cumberland County Criminal Court. Cases are having to be continued as was the case last week.
“We have been having a problem getting jurors,” Criminal Court Judge Gary McKenzie said when continuing cases. Prospective jurors are reluctant to come to the court. He also noted logistic problems exist when trying to impanel 12 jurors and their alternate(s) to hear a case.
The process calls for attorneys from both side to question the entire body about whether they know witnesses or investigators involved in a case, their beliefs on punishment and whether they could render a fair verdict.
McKenzie noted that the panels of jurors may have to be broken into smaller groups to accommodate social distancing and meet guidelines set out by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The judge said he was hopeful that trials could resume under normal circumstances by spring or early summer.
The following action was taken on pending homicide cases:
•Doneal Marie Clark, first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, felony first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, theft of property of up to $1,000, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a weapon by a felon, motion to sever and try separately her case with her husband and co-defendant, Kirk Douglas Clark, granted and continued to Dec. 7.
•Kirk Douglas Clark, first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, felony first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, theft of property of up to $1,000, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a weapon by a felon, continued to Dec. 7.
•Dana Lynn Grosso, second-degree murder, continued to Jan. 20 for the purpose of setting a motion hearing date.
•Warren John Northstrom, two counts of first-degree murder, motion hearing set for Feb. 5 and trial date set for March 16-19.
•Karley Makenzie Reph, vehicular homicide, continued to Jan. 20 for an announcement or for a trial date to be set.