The trial of one of two suspects charged in the New Year’s Day 2014 murder of a Kingscreek man has been delayed until April.
The trial of James Richard Huff- man IV had been scheduled to begin in Letcher Circuit Court on November 7, but was postponed after Special Letcher Circuit Judge Kent Hendrickson approved a request by defense attorneys that Huffman be ordered to undergo an examination to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.
Because that examination is still underway, Hendrickson issued a new order this month setting the trial date for Huffman for 9 a.m.on April 17. The trial is expected to continue through April 28.
Huffman is one of two Pike County men charged with murdering Michael Hogg during a night of New Year’s celebrations in downtown Whitesburg. Huffman and defendant Patrick Smith are accused of stabbing Hogg to death during a fight that broke out on Hays Street, also known as Back Street.
Hogg, 24, was home on break from Eastern Kentucky University when the killing occurred.
In a related matter, Judge Hendrickson ruled that any plea negotiations “shall be concluded and submitted to the court not later than 10 days prior to trial.”
The judge said he would accept only an “open plea” after that date.
The murder charges against Huff- man and Smith do not carry the death penalty.