Judge denies date change in Hines case for second time

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March 12 trial date remains

By Sarah Bennett

For the second time, Judge Kelly Mark Easton denied defense counsel’s motion Tuesday to reschedule a jury trial for Joshua Hines, the Elizabethtown man accused of killing his neighbor last April.

Hines, 25, is represented by the Department of Public Advocacy. The jury trial is set to begin March 12.

In December, co-counsel Melanie Foote presented the continuance motion. Easton denied it, saying the court would have a better idea if the trial needed to be postponed at Tuesday’s pretrial conference.

The defense counsel brought up the motion again in court Tuesday, citing scheduling conflicts. Co-counsel Heather Strotman said the defense hired its own investigator, who needed more time to complete an investigation.

She added the defense may need to hire more experts as the investigation unfolds.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Paynter objected to the motion. The prosecution is ready for the case to proceed to trial, she said, and has met extensively with the family of Toni M. Ballard, who was killed.

“We are ready to move forward,” Paynter said during the pretrial conference. “This has been a difficult time for them.”

Easton ultimately denied the motion but said it may be revisited at a later date.

Police say Hines shot his neighbor at her Bardstown Road residence April 7, 2011. He allegedly called 911 and informed police he shot the 36-year-old woman and may have killed her.

Hines is lodged at the Hardin County Detention Center in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.