Waverly, Ohio--Trial dates have been set for two of the three men accused of killing a deaf gay man last October.
The trial of Martin E. Baxter, 28, will begin on October 11, nine days after the anniversary of Daniel Fetty�s beating death.
Fetty was living out of his car at the time of his death, saving money for a new apartment after a fire destroyed his previous one.
Police in Waverly, about 60 miles south of Columbus, received a call shortly before 1 am on October 2, 2004. When they got to the scene, they found Fetty lying unconscious and naked in a trash container. He had been beaten with bricks, bottles and boards.
Patrolman Tim South saw Baxter, Matthew Wayne Ferman and James Veachel Trent run behind a nearby building, and the trio were arrested within a couple of hours.
Fetty, 39, was flown to Grant Hospital in Columbus from Pike Community Hospital. He died about twelve hours after the attack.
Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk is treating the murder as a hate crime. However, Ohio law does not include sexual orientation in its ethnic intimidation statutes, which only cover crimes as severe as telephone harassment.
Baxter faces two charges of aggravated murder, although he can only be convicted of one of them. He also is charged with aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and abduction.
Facing the death penalty, he has been assigned two attorneys certified to handle such cases, Diane Menashe and Kort Gatterdam of Columbus.
Ferman, 22, will go to trial on January 9, 2006, facing the same charges. Junk is also seeking the death penalty for Ferman.
Trent, 19, pleaded no contest on December 6 to reduced charges and is facing a seven-year prison term. Part of his plea agreement was consenting to testify against Baxter and Ferman.
Baxter�s trial date was set on February 22, Ferman�s three days later. The hearings were, in large part, to see if either the prosecution or the defense wanted Pike County Common Pleas Judge Randy Deering to recuse himself.
Deering arraigned the trio when he was a county judge. He has since been elected to the Court of Common Pleas. Both sides accepted Deering for the cases.
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