The defense for Barry Strickland, the accused in the death of Conway police officer William McGary, told the court Monday it would soon file motions requesting a change of venue for trial and a mental evaluation of the defendant.
Frank Shaw, Strickland’s attorney, said the defense’s decision to file a motion for change of venue was due to the amount of attention the case has drawn in Faulkner County. Shaw said the attention has been largely generated by the press, which has included inaccurate reports.
With the defense’s decision to file a motion for a mental evaluation of Strickland, a two-tour Iraq war veteran who Shaw has said suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, Faulkner County Circuit Judge Ed Clawson set the defendant’s next pretrial hearing for Dec. 16 to allow time for the evaluation to be completed.
Clawson said it would be difficult to address other defense motions, which also include a request to inspect physical evidence from the scene, before the mental evaluation was completed.
Clawson requested that the defense have its motions filed by Dec. 1 to allow time for the prosecution to review the motions, in order to have a response at the next hearing. Shaw said he believed the defense would have most of its motions filed within the week.
If the mental evaluation is completed by Dec. 16, a hearing to address all other motions will be set at the next pretrial date, Clawson said.
Strickland, 32, of Conway, is charged with first-degree battery and driving while intoxicated after police say Strickland struck officer McGary with his vehicle. McGary was directing traffic at an accident Jan. 31 on Dave Ward Drive.
A toxicology report, revealed at a motion hearing May 31, indicated Strickland had no alcohol or non-prescribed drugs in his system at the time of the accident.
The toxicology report shows Strickland did have prescribed drugs in his system, which Shaw says he is legally prescribed to treat PTSD.
If convicted of first-degree battery, a class Y felony, Strickland could face 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)