David Knott

WOODSTOCK — It will be almost three and a half years since Cynthia Dellinger was stabbed to death in her driveway before her accused killer will stand trial.

The trial for David Knott, 58, of Edinburg, was scheduled to begin Monday and last five days, but it has been rescheduled to May 23 and is now scheduled for nine days.

Knott has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the Jan. 26, 2019, death of Dellinger at her Edinburg home. Knott had worked on the Dellinger family farm.

The case has been delayed for several reasons, including scheduling conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic and medical complications with Knott.

Dellinger, 63, was a real estate business owner who previously served on the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors. She was found lying unconscious in her driveway with multiple stab wounds, according to court documents.

According to a motion from Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, the continuance was sought because an expert witness for the prosecution is on extended leave until March.

The expert witness is Dr. Meghan Kessler of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who performed the autopsy on Dellinger, according to the motion. The motion does not state why Kessler would be on extended leave.

Warren County Circuit Court Presiding Judge William Sharp granted the motion, although Knott's defense attorney objected to it. Sharp is hearing the case after Shenandoah County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Kevin Black recused himself.

A family, who asked not to be identified, said Friday in a phone interview that the family is dissatisfied with the progression of the case by the Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

Neither Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley nor Knott’s attorney, public defender Peter McDermott, returned requests for comment.

Other motions filed in the case recently show that the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office planned to call on two additional expert witnesses — a forensic scientist to analyze DNA evidence and a physician.

DNA evidence collected at the scene included stained swabs from a truck, Knott's knee, fingernails from Knott's hands and financial clippings from Cynthia Dellinger. Blood was indicated in all the swabs, an analysis of the DNA stated.

The physician works at Shenandoah Valley Memorial Hospital and will testify on his statements to law enforcement on Jan. 26, "specifically that the victim had multiple stab wounds on her upper torso area, front and back, and that any one of several wounds would have possibly been fatal," the motion states.

Thirty-two witnesses were expected to be called by the Shenandoah County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, according to court documents. They include Dellinger family members, members of the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office, the New Market Police Department, the Woodstock Police Department, and State Police.

The defense disclosed it was planning to call one witness, with the New Market Police Department listed as that person's address.

Knott remains held at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail without bond.

In June, Knott was found guilty of destruction of property and sentenced to 30 days in jail, all suspended, with one year of probation and a $224 fine. A charge of prisoner destruction of tampering with a fire system, also from June, was dropped.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this year from Dellinger's estate seeks $5 million from Knott. No hearings in that proceeding have been scheduled.

In 2017, Knott had attacked another Dellinger family member with a chainsaw and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Contact Charles Paullin at cpaullin@nvdaily.com

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