By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Judge rules on pre-trial motions in murder case
Placeholder Image

While the trials of two men charged in connection with the 2014 death of a Dawson County man did not begin as originally scheduled last week, motions on behalf of the defendants continue to move the case forward.

Most recently, Superior Court Judge Jason Deal ruled that statements Tory Jude Miguez voluntarily and without an attorney made to authorities would not be suppressed.

According to the Sept. 10 ruling, Miguez was not under arrest at the time he made the statements in question.

"As defendant was not in custody at the time he made the statements, [Dawson County Investigator Jennifer] Wright was not required to stop questioning him upon his request for an attorney," the order read.

Wright then reportedly told Miguez "he was free to leave" when he told her he wanted an attorney.

"Although defendant was told multiple times that he was free to leave, he chose to remain and continue talking," according to the order.

In August, Deal granted a motion filed on behalf of Herman James "Bo" Seppenfield, 51, to sever his proceedings from those of Miguez.

Seppenfield is accused as the reported triggerman in the shooting death of 37-year-old Brandon Weaver, who died from injuries sustained in a Nov. 22, 2014 fight that escalated to gunfire.

He was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the side. The father of three and a local Little League coach died at the scene, a short time after emergency responders arrived.

Seppenfield has been incarcerated since his Dec. 6 arrest. He is charged with felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony crime.

Miguez, 25, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during a felony crime in connection with the fight.

The fight reportedly started when Weaver and another man, now identified as Marty Buice, arrived at the Whitney Place home to confront the people living there.

Authorities said Weaver's son had been at a birthday party at the home several hours earlier that evening and had called home to say he wanted to leave.

Dawson County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten said the child felt uncomfortable about something going on at the party.

According to court records, attorneys for Seppenfield have indicated they want a change of venue for the trial.

Local and statewide newspapers have published and circulated articles describing the acts with which [Seppenfield] is charged, and such reports have included significant portions of documentary and hearsay evidence to defendant, the admissibility of which has not been considered by this honorable court," according to the motion filed May 15 by Attorney Richard Stepp.

Similar reports have appeared online and been broadcasted on radio and TV in Dawson County and surrounding areas, which he said "has the potential of severely prejudicing" his client.

On Sept. 3, Deal granted Seppenfield's motion to reserve the right to move for a change of venue if one cannot be seated locally.

A continuance date for the trials had not been set as of Tuesday afternoon.

There are two more weeks set aside in 2015 for scheduled trial dates, otherwise the case would move onto 2016 calendar.

A status hearing on the Seppenfield case is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 30.