POMEROY — A Middleport man accused of murdering his father appeared in Meigs County Common Pleas Court for a pre-trial hearing on Monday morning.
James E. Gardner, 41 — represented by Athens-based public defender Herman Carson — appeared before Judge I. Carson Crow for the hearing.
Gardner faces one count of aggravated murder in the death of his father, James W. Gardner, on Nov. 11, 2013. He is also charged with three counts of aggravated robbery.
Carson stated that he was filing a motion to continue with the previously set trial date of March 5 to allow more time to investigate and prepare. Gardner agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial to allow for the continuance.
Crow set a new trial date for April 9, with a final pre-trial hearing to be held at 1:45 p.m. on Monday, March 25.
James W. Gardner’s body was found at the residence where the two lived on Wells Road near the Meigs-Gallia County line in the evening hours of Nov. 11. In the days following the death, the younger Gardner was labeled a person of interest in the suspicious death.
Then Meigs County Sheriff Robert Beegle stated, at that time, the unofficial cause of death was blunt force trauma.
The elder Gardner’s truck, with a red ATV in the bed, was missing from the property when the his body was found. Witnesses claimed to have seen the younger Gardner driving the truck across the Silver Memorial Bridge just hours following the apparent homicide. Those vehicles, in addition to a motorcycle and a yellow ATV, were recovered in southern Gallia County over the course of the past month.
Gardner remained on the run from authorities until Dec. 7 when he was taken into custody by Gallia County Sheriff’s deputies.
He has been in the custody of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office since that time.
A four-wheeler which had been in the possession of the state as part of the case was released to the family of the deceased as part of a court entry during the hearing. Neither party objected to the release of the four-wheeler.
Gardner remains in the custody of the Meigs County Sheriff on $900,000 bond.