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Man accused in Charleston police officer death gets new trial date

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The man charged in last December’s death of Charleston police officer Cassie Johnson won’t go on trial until next year.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey has moved Joshua Phillips’ trial from Nov. 15 to Jan. 10.

During a Wednesday status hearing, Bailey told prosecutors and defense attorneys she recently learned for a spacing issue at the Kanawha County Courthouse during mid-November.

“I’ve been advised that’s the same week that the grand jury is scheduled to meet,” Bailey said.

COVID-19 protocals have forced large court hearings into the larger ceremonial courtroom. Bailey said it would be difficult to have a murder trial and grand jury the same week.

Both defense attorney John Sullivan and Kanawha County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris agreed to the move. Morris did tell Bailey he wants to check on the availability of prosecution witnesses for the week of Jan. 10.

Joshua Phillips

Phillips, 38, is charged with murder in connection with Johnson’s death last December. He allegedly attacked her and shot her during her investigation a traffic complaint on Garrison Avenue. She died a few days after being shot.

Phillips remains in the South Central Regional Jail. Sullivan told Bailey Wednesday he plans to file another motion soon in hopes of convincing the judge to set bond in the case. She has previously denied bond.

Bailey has scheduled a Dec. 1 pretrial hearing for the January trial.

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