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Jeremy Pendleton’s murder trial will again be continued – for the ninth time since the Oklahoma City man took on his own representation.
Accused of killing 18-year-old El Reno resident Levi Lusty during a March 28, 2010 altercation, Pendleton in August 2011 petitioned – and received permission – to represent himself in his first-degree murder trial. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against the 31-year-old man.
With the trial set for Feb. 4, Canadian County District Court Judge Gary Miller issued an order approving Pendleton’s latest request for a continuance, but marking “a minimum of nine times” the case has been pushed back at the defendant’s request.
“The court will continue this matter, but advises all parties that it anticipates this case will be tried March 4 at 9 a.m.,” Miller stated in his order, filed with the court Jan. 14.
Pendleton and Damon Richey, 19, were charged in connection with Lusty’s murder shortly after he was killed. Richey, charged with a lesser offense, committed suicide in January 2012. Since taking on his own representation, Pendleton has obtained court approval of $5,000 in investigative expenses – up to $2,000 for DNA testing and another $3,000 to fund a private investigator. According to the motion he filed asking for more time, it was those activities which required Pendleton to request another continuance.
“The investigation of this case is ongoing and a continuance is needed to complete the investigation and for DNA Resources to conduct an analysis of certain evidence as authorized by court order,” the Oklahoma City man stated in his motion. “The investigator in this matter … has been diligently working on locating and interviewing key witnesses but needs more time to complete her investigation.”
Because Pendleton is an indigent defendant, the court subsidizes expenses like investigators and DNA testing.
The next hearing scheduled in the case is a call docket set for 9 a.m. Feb. 19.