The cases in Warren County Circuit Court expected to go to trial were continued Thursday to later in the month.
By a judge’s motion, the cases for Richard Crouch, George Good, April Marie Wright and several others were continued to Feb. 26.
The mass continuance is part of a scheduling plan employed by Judge William Sharp as the county awaits approval by the state Supreme Court to hold jury trials.
Warren and Shenandoah counties are not among the 91 circuit courts in the state that have been approved to resume jury trials.
The state Supreme Court suspended all jury trials at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and in August asked courts to submit plans for how they would resume holding those trials.
Warren County Commonwealth Attorney John Bell said the hope is that the county will be approved to hold jury trials by Feb. 26. Shenandoah County has a similar scheduling date on Feb. 24 and Judge Kevin Black has said he hopes the county is approved by then.
With state law changing July 1 to remove sentencing by a jury after a trial, unless a defendant requests one, defendants may be more likely to request a jury trial, Bell has said.
By allowing a judge to impose sentences, which therefore are more likely to follow sentencing guidelines, the risk of receiving a harsher sentence from a jury is removed from requesting a jury trial, Bell said.
Crouch and Good are accused of assaulting and tying up 20-year-old Warren County resident Tristen Brinklow in September 2019 and placing his body in a refrigerator. The refrigerator was discovered on Dec. 2, 2019, at Digs Landing. They are charged with willfully defiling a body, concealing a dead body, abduction by force/intimidation and first-degree murder.
Good is also accused of shooting a man during an assault attempt in the area of Cloud Street in Front Royal in November 2019. In that assault, Wright is accused of hitting a man with a stick.
Crouch and Good are being held at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail without bond. Wright was released in January on $1,000 bond.