Biggest criminal murder trials set to begin in 2023

focus on hammer, group of files on judge table covered with dust - concept of pending old cases or work at judicial court
focus on hammer, group of files on judge table covered with dust – concept of pending old cases or work at judicial court. lakshmiprasad S/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Biggest criminal murder trials set to begin in 2023

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Several high-profile criminal cases are set to begin in the new year, with many people standing accused of murders in both recent and cold cases.

Below is a list by the Washington Examiner tracking the top criminal trials and sentencings for 2023 in order of trial appearance.

Jan. 23 — Alex Murdaugh (South Carolina)

Disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh is set to go to trial on Jan. 23 in the Colleton County Courthouse. The trial is expected to go until Feb. 10, and Judge Clifton Newman will be presiding.

Murdaugh, a once-prominent legal giant, pleaded not guilty in July to two counts of murder stemming from the deaths of his wife and son last year. His wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul, 22, were found dead near the family’s hunting estate on June 7, 2021, with gunshot afflictions.

Murdaugh has adamantly denied the charges, and his legal team is confident he will be acquitted, per ABC 13 News.

The former lawyer reported their deaths to police shortly after finding them, but blood on his shirt caused authorities to believe he was a suspect. Cellphone evidence showed Murdaugh at the crime scene, which contradicted his initial testimony that he was visiting his mother on the night of the murders.

If found guilty, Murdaugh faces up to 30 years in prison. The court accommodated requests from Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, members of Murdaugh’s legal team, for a speedy trial.

Jan. 24 — Michael Adam Bur (Michigan)

Michael Adam Bur, 42, will appear for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 24 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in the 1997 killing of Mary Prieur, 88.

He was set to stand trial early in 2023 on charges of felony murder, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct. However, he pleaded guilty on Dec. 5 to amended charges of second-degree murder and first-degree sexual conduct in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the kidnapping charge.

His plea agreement calls for a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and lifetime monitoring as a sex offender, per CBS News.

In February 1997, Prieur was found beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted near her residence in Genesee County village in Lennon, Michigan. At the time of the murder, Bur was 17 and lived near Prieur’s home.

In 2021, police used advanced DNA technology to review evidence from 1997 that linked Bur to several samples taken at the crime scene.

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March 20 — Willard Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale (Iowa)

Iowa teenagers Willard Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale, 17, are standing for separate trials in 2023. Miller’s trial will begin on March 20, and Goodale’s trial date is pending.

Goodale and Miller are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit homicide after they allegedly beat their Spanish teacher, Nohema Graber, 66, to death in November 2021. Investigators determined she had extensive head trauma.

Originally, Goodale was set to stand trial on Dec. 5, 2022. However, a judge approved a continuance for his trial on Nov. 4 and moved the location to Scott County, per KWQC.

Social media exchanges led authorities to Miller and Goodale as suspects, showing that their motive for her disappearance and murder allegedly centers on a dispute over a bad grade. Messages showed the two students knew about her disappearance.

Miller changed his testimony several times after initial questioning, stating originally that he had no knowledge of Graber’s disappearance but eventually stating that “a roving group of masked kids made him help” move the body for the “real killers.”

His attorneys have accused police of violating his rights and pushing Miller into involuntary questioning.

Both suspects are being tried as adults and face life in prison if convicted.

March 20 — Richard Allen (Indiana)

Richard Allen, 50, will stand trial on March 20, 2023, for the 2017 murders of Abby Williams and Libby German in Delphi, Indiana.

Allen was arrested on Oct. 28 and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty to the charges shortly after in an initial hearing.

Williams and German were reported missing on Feb. 13, 2017, and their bodies were found the next day on the Delphi Historic Trail. No details were originally released on the evidence that led to Allen’s arrest due to a court order sealing the probable cause affidavit.

Allen was transferred from Carroll County Jail to the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction on Nov. 4 after the county sheriff declared Allen was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death due to “the public’s blood lust for information, before it exists,” which she deemed extremely dangerous to all public servants involved.

Judge Benjamin A. Diener of the Carroll Circuit Court approved the request and recused himself from the case just hours after, with the reason being unclear.

Diener had warned the public against peddling misinformation “with reckless abandon,” particularly after people began taking the suspect’s sketch and posting them side by side next to pictures of innocent people on social media. To alleviate pressure from the public, he had ordered the release of a redacted version of documents detailing reasons for charging Allen to provide limited information to the public.

On Dec. 2, Judge Fran Gull, who took over for Diener, issued a gag order on the case against Allen. All involved parties, counsel, law enforcement officials, court personnel, the coroner, and family members are not allowed to speak publicly on the case.

Investigators have identified a weapon belonging to Allen that matched a round found within 2 feet of one of the victim’s bodies. He said he was on the trail but denied that he murdered the two girls, per WTHR.

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April 17 — Robert Telles (Nevada)

Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, 46, is set to go on trial on April 17, 2023, for the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German.

German was found murdered outside his home on Sept. 3. He had been stabbed seven times.

Telles was indicted on Oct. 20 and charged with murder with a deadly weapon against a victim 60 or older.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Oct. 27. Evidence against him is “overwhelming,” prosecutors have stated, given Telles’s DNA was found under German’s fingernails, and Telles’s vehicle matches the description of one found in the area when German was killed. Clothes matching video footage of the suspect were also found in Telles’s possession.

Before his death, German wrote several investigative articles on Telles that gained widespread public attention, which many say contributed to Telles’s loss in his reelection bid.

If convicted, Telles will serve life in prison without parole. He is set to appear in court for a status hearing on Feb. 1.

Aug. 8 — Henry Dinkins (Iowa)

Henry Dinkins, 50, will stand trial on Aug. 8, 2023, for the kidnapping and murder of Breasia Terrell, 10, in 2020. It is expected to last 20 days.

Dinkins was originally set to stand trial on Oct. 24, but at the request of his attorneys, the trial was delayed. His attorneys, Chad and Jennifer Frese, stated they needed more time to represent Dinkins effectively.

The couple represented Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who was convicted of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, in 2021.

The trial was moved out of Scott County due to pretrial publicity surrounding the case. Dinkins is from Davenport, located in the county.

Dinkins has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping, per KWQC. On or around July 10, 2020, Dinkins removed and confined Terrell from an apartment and fatally shot her. Her body was recovered almost a year later, north of DeWitt, Iowa, in March 2021.

He was in custody as of July 2020 on unrelated sex offender registry violation charges.

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Unknown — David DePape (California)

David DePape, 42, will stand trial sometime in 2023. After his preliminary hearing on Dec. 14, a trial is expected to begin in the new year.

DePape was charged with both federal and state charges after he attacked Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in their San Francisco home on Oct. 28 with a hammer. DePape was seeking out Nancy Pelosi, threatening to break her kneecaps if he didn’t receive the answers he sought.

On Nov. 1, DePape pleaded not guilty to a slew of state charges, including attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder, and threats to a public official. If convicted, he could face 13 years to life with the charges.

He was also indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault against a family member of a federal official on Nov. 9.

DePape has an extensive history of spewing far-right extremist views and peddling conspiracy theories on social media on topics such as the COVID-19 vaccine, the 2020 election, and the Capitol riot, according to multiple reports.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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