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Two murder trials reset for January

Lawrence County prosecutors will try two murder cases within a week next January.

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Lawrence County prosecutors will try two murder cases within a week next January.

Cases against Jeffery T. Holton of Ironton and Dereck A. Collins of Burlington have been rescheduled – with Holton’s set for Jan. 23 and Collins’s Jan. 28. They were to face jury trials in November and December.

Continuance motions were filed in the Holton case, and some discovery had not been completed, prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said.

Holton, 22, of 2340 County Road 181, Ironton, was indicted by the Lawrence County Grand Jury on charges of murder, a felony; trafficking in marijuana, fourth-degree felony; possession of marijuana, fifth-degree felony; tampering with evidence, third-degree felony; and having weapons while under disability, fifth-degree felony.

His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 23. Collier said he might appoint an assistant prosecutor to try the case.

The sheriff’s department has said that an apparent domestic dispute Aug. 24 led to the alleged shooting death of Holton’s girlfriend, Misty Malone. Holton was arrested after a neighbor’s phone call alerted authorities.

Investigators found a .357-caliber handgun in a wooded area about 30 yards behind the home later that day.

Collins, 23, of 25 Township Road 1067, South Point, stands accused in the Sept. 12 death of 3-year-old Brooklyn Hope Peters. He was indicted in October on a charge of aggravated murder.

His trial is scheduled to start Jan. 28. Collier said he will try the case.

Court and sheriff’s department records show Collins was arrested early Sept. 13 on charges of murder and child endangering. The night before, he had flagged down a deputy at a Burlington gas station, saying Brooklyn – the daughter of his girlfriend, Tisha McCoy – was having trouble breathing. The deputy and EMS tried to revive the child, but she was pronounced dead at a West Virginia hospital.

Officers felt there were obvious signs of injury to the girl, especially facial injuries, that prompted charges, reports stated.

Collier said that two murder trials coming to court within one week’s time has never happened before, as far as he knows.

"Of course, the dates could still change," he said. "From our standpoint, we presume both are going to go to trial and we’ll be ready for them."