A special judge has ruled that trials against a Corbin man — accused of advertising on the popular website Topix to hire a hit man to kill someone in 2013, and for intimidating the former prosecutor in the case — will be moved to another county due to pre-trial publicity.
In a pair of orders signed just before Christmas, Special Judge Samuel Spalding moved cases against Tristan Hall, 32, to Washington County. Trial dates in both cases are now set for April 5.
Hall was initially charged with criminal solicitation to commit murder in connection with a Jan. 10, 2013 incident where he allegedly advertised on the popular website Topix that he would pay someone $5,000 cash for the murder of Melissa Jones Davis and the concealment of her body.
On March 2 of 2015, Hall was indicted for retaliating against a participant in the legal process. According to the indictment, on June 2014, Hall allegedly made threats through a series of phone calls to Whitley Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble, who at the time was prosecuting Hall for criminal solicitation to commit murder. Trimble has since recused as prosecutor in that case.
Hall’s ex-girlfriend appears to have actually made the calls.
In his order, dated Dec. 23, 2015, Spalding noted that Hall “has reached a certain level of notoriety locally that would make selection of a jury that had not heard of the Defendant and his cases difficult, if not impossible.”
A motion for change of venue was originally filed by Hall’s attorneys on April 15, 2015 but was initially denied.
Hall previously faced charges that he attempted to file a fraudulent insurance claim in regards to a fur coat he had given to Reeves and that was reported stolen in 2013. Last November, Spalding agreed to dismiss that case against Hall due in part to "serious reservations about the trustworthiness" of Reeves, who was to be one of the main witnesses in the case.
The coat was found before any insurance claim was paid.
In a separate order, Spalding released Hall from any requirements that he report to Whitley County Pretrial Services because he is relocating to Tennessee.
A pretrial conference in both of Hall’s remaining felony cases is set for Feb. 25 at 9:00 a.m. in Whitley Circuit Court.