The trial of a Lily man, who is accused of beating his twin brother to death with a hammer, has been delayed until January.
Jury selection in the case against Antonio Johnson, 33, was scheduled to begin Tuesday in Laurel Circuit Court.
However, at the request of attorneys from both sides, Judge Greg Lay agreed to continue the trial.
After convening court, Lay asked both parties if they were ready to proceed.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele asked Lay for a conference at the bench. After several moments of conversation, Lay announced to the assembled pool of potential jurors that for reasons given at the bench, the trial would be continued.
“I did not anticipate this situation,” Lay told the jurors.
Steele said he could not go into details, but said it involved an emergency medical condition on the part of an individual involved in the trial.
After dismissing the jurors, Lay spoke with Steele and defense attorney Jennifer Perkins concerning a new trial date, setting the trial for Jan. 8.
The trial is expected to take two days.
A final pretrial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3.
Lay also took up a new motion to amend Johnson’s bond, which is set at $500,000 cash.
Perkins told the court that Johnson has been incarcerated since April 2016.
She noted his limited criminal history and that family members, who have been in court during Johnson’s appearances, have agreed to ensure he appears as required for future court appearances.
She requested the bond be amended to $50,000 fully secured with Johnson to be on home incarceration.
When asked where Johnson would stay if he were released, Perkins said his family agreed that he could stay with them in Fort Hood, Texas.
“Therein lies the problem,” Lay replied.
“I can’t release the defendant to Texas,” he said in denying the motion.
Johnson is facing one count of murder-domestic violence.
Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a residence on Robinson Creek Road in Lily in response to a 9-1-1 call that Antonio Johnson made in 2016.
In the call, Antonio Johnson told dispatchers that he found his brother lying on the bedroom floor and thought he was dead.
“He said he thinks Anthony used a hammer to kill himself,” said Deputy Gilbert Acciardo, the department’s public affairs officer.
Acciardo said previously that an autopsy showed Anthony Johnson suffered multiple blows to the top of his head.
Deputies recovered a hammer at the scene.
“It was more of a utility hammer,” Acciardo said previously when asked about the size of the hammer.
Under Kentucky law, Antonio Johnson faces 20 to 50 years, or life in prison.
The case does not meet the legal requirements for the death penalty to apply.
In order to seek the death penalty, Kentucky law requires aggravating circumstances such as: another violent crime, such as robbery or rape, to have been committed in connection with the murder, two or more victims, or the victim to be a police officer or corrections officer killed in the line of duty.