David Brian Knott remains in jail without bond and charged in the homicide of a former Shenandoah County supervisor on Jan. 26.
But the case sits in Shenandoah County General District Court as judges and attorneys continue to put off Knott’s preliminary hearing. The court has scheduled Knott’s preliminary hearing four times since the defendant’s first appearance Jan. 28 — two days after his arrest on a charge of second-degree murder.
Virginia State Police arrested Knott, 56, of 34 Dellinger Acres Road, Edinburg, on Jan. 26 and charged him in the death of Cynthia Dellinger. The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office asked state police to handle the case, given the victim’s familial connection to members of the local agency. Police took Knott into custody and transported him to Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail where a magistrate had the suspect held without bond pending his next court appearance.
Senior Assistant Public Defender Peter K. McDermott represents Knott. Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley is prosecuting the case.
McDermott said by phone Thursday he could not comment on the case, including any reasons why court dates have been rescheduled by the court on several occasions. Documents filed in the court did not indicate reasons for the delays.
Wiseley did not return a call for comment on the case Thursday.
General District Court Judge Amy Tisinger has recused herself from hearing the case. Judge Richard Claybrook Jr. has been appointed to hear it.
Judges in the general district court write notes in the margin of a defendant’s arrest warrant, such as hearing dates as they are scheduled. Under the judge’s orders, the court then schedules the case for a specific date and enters this information into an electronic database. The online version of the database allows the public and the media to see limited information about court cases, including scheduled hearings and proceedings.
However, on several occasions on dates not appearing in the court’s electronic database, a judge heard motions by parties seeking to put off Knott’s preliminary hearing. Knott appeared in court Jan. 28 and a judge made no change in the defendant’s bail conditions. The judge scheduled Knott’s next appearance for March 18. However, an order for continued custody dated March 13 — five days before the scheduled hearing and signed by a court clerk rather than a judge -notes a new appearance date of May 31.
Knott appeared in court via video on March 13, according to information provided by RSW Regional Jail Superintendent Russ Gilkison. Knott has not appeared in court, either via video or in person, since March 13, jail records show.
The court ordered on May 14 that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at the Manassas location submit to the clerk’s office any and all lab data, case notes, testing results and statistical analysis used for the autopsy of Cynthia Dellinger. McDermott and a court clerk signed the document on May 14 and 15, respectively. The clerk’s office received the document on June 4, according to the time stamp.
Judge Kevin C. Black ordered on May 13 that a court reporter appear for the preliminary hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. May 31.
An order for continued custody dated May 30 — the day before the scheduled preliminary hearing — indicates that Tisinger granted a joint motion of the prosecutor’s office and McDermott to reschedule the hearing to today. Tisinger ordered that Knott remain held without bond.
The latest delay in the case came this week. The court had scheduled the public hearing for today. However, Tisinger signed an order dated Tuesday and agreed upon by McDermott and Wiseley to put off the preliminary hearing to Jan. 31. Tisinger notes that she signed the order for Judge Richard Claybrook, given that both parties agreed to reschedule the hearing.
An order for continued custody signed by Tisinger and dated Tuesday advises the jail not to transport Knott to the court today but rather to do so on Jan. 31.
The court has taken other action on dates not scheduled for case proceedings. Shenandoah County General District Court Clerk Tamara Heishman states in an email dated June 5 to Claybrook and filed with the Knott case that her office had received the autopsy report for Dellinger. Heishman asks the judge in the email if he wants to seal the autopsy report. Claybrook responds by email the next day telling Heishman to seal the report until further order of the court.