Grand Jury Indicts_ Death Penalty Sought

Tuesday, September 3, 2097

A tentative trial date of February 10th has been set for six suspects in the Lillelid murder case, after a Greene County Grand Jury Tuesday returned a twenty-nine count indictment against each defendant in connection with the April incident near Baileyton. The Grand jury indicted Joseph Risner, Natasha Cornett, Crystal Sturgill, Dean Mullins, Karen Howell, and Jason Bryant on every charge presented to them by the District Attorney General's Office. The suspects are each charged with three counts of First Degree Murder, as well as one count each of attempted First Degree Murder; especially aggravated kidnapping; aggravated kidnapping; theft of property; and aggravated child abuse. A case management conference by Judge James Beckner with attorneys for both the defense and the state late Tuesday afternoon was held for the purpose of establishing dates, motions and other matters to be addressed prior to the trial. Attorneys for all parties agreed to try all suspects together, which could take between four and six weeks. Judge Beckner set an October 30th deadline for motions to be filed in the case. The first of five scheduled motion hearings is slated for October 9. Formal arraignments for the suspects is scheduled for this Friday. District Attorney General Berkeley Bell confirmed Tuesday that the state has filed notice that it will seek the death penalty for the four adult suspects. Due to their age, the maximum penalty for the juveniles is life in prison.