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January 3, 2014

Michael Palmer trial to begin Jan. 21

Volume of evidence in murder case draws complaint from defense

FAIRMONT — With less than three weeks left to the start of the first-degree murder case against Michael Palmer, his defense wants what the prosecution plans to present as far as evidence and witnesses narrowed down.

During what could be the last preliminary hearing before the start of the Jan. 21 trial, Palmer’s attorney, Sean Murphy, on Thursday complained about the volume of evidence, including 1,500 pages of evidence from Facebook, the two terabytes of data and 82 witnesses on the list who could be called by the prosecution during the trial.

Palmer appeared before Circuit Judge Michael Aloi on Thursday. Palmer was represented by Rebecca Tate and Murphy.

Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Wilson is representing the state.

On Dec. 11, 2011, Everett Ed Wilson was shot to death at the Baxter home of his daughter and son-in-law, Kristyn and Michael Palmer.

Palmer and his wife, Kristyn Lorraine, were arrested, arraigned and indicted on the capital offense in June 2012. Both have remained at the North Central Regional Jail since. Each has had trials scheduled and continued numerous times.

Originally, the shooting had been described as a domestic incident in which Wilson attempted to enter the Palmers’ residence, damaging the front door, with Michael Palmer shooting him once in the torso. Wilson was pronounced dead on the scene by the state medical examiner.

Michael Palmer’s trial has been continued six times, but the defense attorneys, prosecutor and judge said Thursday they do not want to hold off on the trial any longer.

Murphy expressed that he is having a difficult time with the mass amount of Facebook pages and data being presented at the trial. He said he knows Patrick Wilson will introduce the information, and Murphy wants it narrowed down.

Aloi said he was reluctant to limit the amount of information, saying “it would be one thing if the information was generated by third parties, but it is not. It was created by the Palmers in this matter.”

Murphy showed concern about the witness list being too long and wanted an exact list given to him before the trial date.

“This dance that we do ... the state is in the proactive position and we are in the reactive position,” Murphy said.

 Prosecuting Attorney Wilson responded to Murphy’s statement, explaining that he already knows he plans to use at least 40 witnesses, but does not think he should have to limit himself to that number.

Prior to Thursday’s hearing, Aloi ruled against four motions from the defense: a request for Palmer’s immediate release on personal recognizance; to disqualify Wilson as prosecuting attorney; to suppress all statements from Palmer’s wife Kristyn; and a motion to exclude witnesses.

Aloi still hasn’t ruled on a motion Wilson made to have reports from three expert witnesses the defense plans to use during trial, including a computer expert, a firearms expert and a psychiatrist, to speak to the condition of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Email Kristen Talerico at ktalerico@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KTalericoTWV.

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