WOODSTOCK — The jury trial for the farm worker accused of murdering a former member of the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for Dec. 6.
David Knott, 58, of Edinburg, is accused of stabbing to death Cynthia Dellinger, 63, at her Edinburg home on Jan. 26, 2019.
On Tuesday, Knott slowly walked into the courtroom and remained seated during the scheduling and his arraignment. Judge William Sharp allowed Knott to remain seated citing Knott's back problems.
Knott, who worked on Dellinger's farm, pleaded "not guilty" to the first-degree murder charge. He is being represented by court-appointed attorney Peter McDermott.
Sharp questioned Knott on whether he understood what he is doing by pleading "not guilty" and if understood the difference between a jury trial and a bench trial. Knott wasn't sure that he did, so Sharp cleared the courtroom for several minutes as McDermott explained the difference to his client.
After the courtroom reconvened and the questioning resumed, Sharp noted that it wouldn’t have mattered if Knott wanted a jury or bench trial as Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley was requesting a jury trial.
In response to Sharp's questions, Knott said he had not completed more than the sixth or seventh grade in school and was not fully able to read and write. McDermott pointed once to something written on a folder for Knott to look at, but Knott shook his head as if he didn’t understand it.
The Dec. 6 trial, which has been postponed several times, is scheduled to last five days in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.
Amid the delays, Knott had medical issues, involving a hernia, that lead to McDermott requesting medical assistance outside of the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. Knott is being held there without bond.
Knott had previously attacked another Dellinger family member with a chainsaw and was sentenced to six months.
Dellinger’s son, Wesley, is a member of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and was among the first to respond to the incident after his mother was found lying unconscious in her driveway, according to court documents.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this year from Dellinger's estate is seeking $5 million from Knott. No hearings in that proceeding have been scheduled.
Before the trial, Knott is due back in Shenandoah County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22, so his attorney can argue a motion to determine which evidence should be included or excluded before the trial begins. McDermott had not filed the motion yet but said he would be doing so within a week.
Knott is then due for a pretrial conference at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in Warren County Circuit Court. The conference is being held in Warren County due to scheduling conflicts with Shenandoah County Circuit Court, which is backed up with trials put on hold during the moratorium due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharp is hearing the case after Shenandoah County’s presiding judge Kevin Black recused himself from the case because he knew Dellinger.