Trial dates nears in murder case

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Jesse Durham now scheduled to face jurors in February and March

By Calen McKinney


Jesse Durham will face jurors in three months, who will decide whether he murdered his great-grandmother.

And now, a month later, a jury will decide if he assaulted a jail staff member while being incarcerated.

But until he faces a jury in February, Durham's attorney, public defender C.B. Bates, is working to schedule a mediation hearing with prosecutor Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Miller to see if the cases can be resolved before going to trial.

Durham is scheduled to face a jury of his peers on Tuesday, Feb. 25, to determine if he is guilty of murder. Bates has said at previous hearings that the trial could take about four days.

On Tuesday, Bates appeared before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram to discuss the status of Durham's case. Durham, 22, did not appear.

Bates said he has filed a motion asking for more information about techniques lab workers used to examine the DNA in Durham's case. He said he is waiting to receive the information he requested.

Bates said he doesn't know when that information will be given to him, only that he didn't ask for more tests to be performed, just information about how the DNA was examined.

According to lab results filed in Durham's case, some DNA on a hammer allegedly used to kill Durham's great-grandmother is a match to her DNA but doesn't match Durham's.

The results also state that other DNA found on the hammer can't be determined to match Durham or his great-grandmother because of possible mixture with other DNA at the laboratory.

DNA testing found on a cigarette butt found at the murder scene are a match to Durham, the results state.

During Tuesday's hearing, Bertram also asked the status of the assault charge that Durham is facing. Bates said he would like to discuss that case at mediation also and is waiting to see when Senior Status Judge Doughlas George can have a hearing.

Bertram asked if Bates would like to schedule that case for trial in March. Bates said he is fine with that and a March 25 trial date was set.

Bertram asked Bates if the murder case against Durham is ready for trial. Bates said he believes it is, though it might be helpful to schedule another hearing before Feb. 25 to review the case to make sure. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m.

Durham has remained incarcerated on a $500,000 cash bond since he was arrested and charged with murder in February 2012. He is lodged at the Taylor County Detention Center.

The Case

Durham is accused of killing his great-grandmother, Elizabeth Arinsmier.

According to court records, Durham told law enforcement that he argued with his great-grandmother on Feb. 10, 2012, and struck her with a hammer until she died.

A Campbellsville Police report states that the department received a phone call from Matt Blaine of Cincinnati, Ohio, reporting that he hadn't had contact with Arinsmier, his 77-year-old mother living at 105 Daisy Drive in Campbellsville, for a few days. Blaine asked officers to check on her.

After officers received no answer at Arinsmier's home, they entered, found her unresponsive and she was pronounced dead. An autopsy ruled the cause of her death was blunt force trauma. After an interview with police, Durham was charged with committing her murder.

After being incarcerated for about four months, Durham was indicted and charged with assaulting a corrections staff member.

According to court records, on May 13, 2012, Durham is accused of refusing to be escorted out of his cell and striking deputy Daniel Miller on his face.

Durham was charged with third-degree assault. If convicted of that charge, Durham could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.

If convicted in the murder case, he could be sentenced to as much as life in prison. The prosecution has said Durham likely won't face the death penalty.

• An indictment is a legal accusation only. It does not establish guilt.