UNION - Jury selection was slated to begin next week in the trial of a Poplar Bluff man accused of murdering a teen-ager along with her 73-year-old grandmother.
However, the trial of Cecil Barriner, 39, has now been put back until Feb. 11.
According to New Madrid County Prosecuting Attorney H. Riley Bock, the defense attorney got the case continued because "he has a sick child."
Bock said he was "ready to go for next week. I was ready four months ago. [The postponement] will not really change anything on our part."
This will be Barriner's second trial after a five-judge majority of the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that prejudicial evidence and testimony was improperly used at his 1999 trial in Dent County.
During that trial, Barriner was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and later sentenced to die for killing 19-year-old Candace Sisk and her grandmother, Irene.
The Sisks were stabbed to death in their Tallapoosa home on Dec. 16, 1996.
The venue for Barriner's case has also been changed again.
Bock described this case like a "jumping frog."
The jury for next week's trial was to be picked in Franklin County and then moved to Audrain County where the trial was going to be held.
"Our judge, Judge (Edward D.) Hodge had some heart surgery and indicated that he didn't really feel like traveling with the case to Franklin County to pick a jury because of health concerns," Bock said.
Rather than have the case go back to the Missouri Supreme Court for the assignment of a new judge, which would "probably only constitute further delay, the state agreed that the case could be venued to Warren County," Bock said.
According to Bock, Warren County is "part of Judge Hodge's old circuit. This was essentially done to accommodate him.
"We'll pick a jury in Warren County and try the case there."
Bock said Hodge will be on "familiar ground over there. I think from the standpoint, we won't be dealing with another sheriff's department and clerk's office that [he] is unfamiliar with.
"That should facilitate trying the case."
Bock expects the trial to last about a week.
"It took six days last time," he said. "My best estimate is that it will take approximately the same amount of time.
"There are always some unknowns - the length of time it takes to pick a jury, how long a jury may deliberate, getting witnesses there when they are supposed to be there, those types of delays."
Bock said Hodge usually runs an 8-hour schedule. "He doesn't like to go into the evenings," he said. "In Dent County we went into the evenings a few nights.
"That might lengthen [the trial] by a day or so possibly."