Richard Wilkerson, 30, who is being held on a second-degree murder charge in connection with the death of 45-year old Bryan Newman after a bar altercation in late 2012, had his pre-trial conference in Johnson County District Court Monday morning.
The conference gave both the defense and prosecution the opportunity to go over a number of details in the case and determine exactly how the trial will proceed when it begins next week.
A possible conflict of interest concerning Attorney Chris Wages, who will have no part in the trial, was denied by Judge William J. Edelman, saying “no conflict exists.”
Discussed and allowed was another attorney for the defense to be present during the trial, as well as addendums filed by the prosecution for evidence to be presented by Buffalo Police Officer Keeler and three detention officers on “chain of custody” for the defendants' clothing the night he was arrested.
A quash for subpoena for possible testimony from Buffalo Police Chief Jason Carder was rescinded at the request of the defense.
Finally Judge Edelman determined that expert testimony on the exact cause of death was not protected for the defense, saying fairness suggests that expert testimony deserves more scrutiny and since the state has shared their expert testimony in the matter that the defense will share their expert's findings as well.
Concerns were brought up about recorded conversations between the defendant and his counsel. Inmates phone calls are routinely recorded and sometimes monitored for security reasons, but Judge Edelman ordered all recordings between the defendant and counsel to be copied and given to his attorney.
Wilkerson is charged with murder in the second degree and faces 20 years to life in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both if convicted.
The trial is scheduled to begin jury selection next week.