LISBON - The vehicular homicide jury trial for a Poland man accused of killing an East Liverpool man last March will have to wait, after Judge Mark Frost agreed to postpone the trial again, this time at the request of both the defense and prosecuting attorney in Columbiana County Municipal Court.
Michael Bair, 32, of Poland, faces a vehicular homicide charge after David Mayfield, 35, Annesley Road, East Liverpool, was killed on March 13, 2012, reportedly by a dump truck overturning onto his Dodge Durango off the side of state Route 7.
Bair, the driver of the dump truck, was hauling gravel for Sebastian Trucking Inc.
Defense attorney Colleen Hall Dailey made the first request for additional time, stating the crash reconstruction expert hired by the defense had not completed work and did not expect to be done by the currently scheduled April 3 jury trial. She said she learned they would need three to four more weeks from now in order to finish.
Assistant County Prosecutor Don Humphrey Jr. also said he would like additional time. He had believed his crash specialist had already obtained paint samples of the two vehicles, but had just learned he was waiting for Humphrey to provide him with a subpoena in order to do so.
Humphrey said he planned to bring the subpoena before Frost as early as today. Frost insisted enough paint samples be obtained in case the defense also wanted to do their own analysis.
On Monday, Frost reset the jury trial for May 1, with both attorneys offering that they will continue to talk to each other in an effort to resolve the case.
One attorney, Nicholas Amato, who is representing at least some of Mayfield's family in a civil case regarding the death, was also in the courtroom Monday.
Amato expressed the family's frustration about the case being postponed yet again. He relayed the other delays in the case including when Bair requested a new attorney right before the last jury trial and after a request was made to have the court pay $5,000 for an expert.
Amato talked about the children Mayfield left behind and Bair's attempts to get people to believe "he crushed into the back end of another vehicle," but then was able to maintain control when the lethal accident occurred. Amato said he was ready to take Bair's deposition for the civil trial and planned to do so soon, even if Bair took the Fifth Amendment. Bair has a right not to incriminate himself while the criminal case remains.
Frost said he appreciated Amato and the family's frustration, but he must protect against there being error in the case being tried. He pointed out if the case is appealed because of error, it will only prolong things further.
Johnson writes for the Morning Journal in Lisbon.