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Trial for alleged Superstar robber pushed back

GREENUP, Ky.- Illness has postponed the trial of an Ohio man accused of viciously beating a Russell, Ky., video store clerk.

The trial for William Ryan Dixon, 21, of Franklin Furnace, was to have begun Monday. Greenup County Circuit Judge Lewis Nichols rescheduled the trial for Oct. 3 because defense attorney William Palmer was hospitalized over the weekend.

"A case of that magnitude, the judge just couldn't tell another attorney in that office, 'well, you go over that defend this person,'" Greenup County Commonwealth's Attorney Clifford Duvall said.

The rescheduling of Dixon's trial means the trial for his alleged cohort, Wayne Murphy 31, of Ironton, must also be rescheduled.

"Both trials are now scheduled to start Oct. 3," Duvall said. "Obviously we can't try them both together. My understanding is, we will have Dixon's trial first."

The two men are accused in connection with the July 14, 2004, rape, robbery and assault of a store manager at the Superstar Video in Russell, an incident one Russell police officer described as the most gruesome he had ever seen.

While Dixon and Murphy were initially charged with attempted murder, a Greenup County grand jury later returned indictments for first degree robbery, a class B felony carrying a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison; first degree assault, a class B felony carrying a sentence of 10 to 20 years; and first degree rape with serious physical injury, a class A felony carrying a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Both men remain housed in the Greenup County Jail.