An April trial date has been set in an area murder-for-hire case.
During a 10-minute session in Lawrence County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon, Judge Robert Hopkins set an April 22 trial date for Tyler R. McQueen, who faces three counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 78-year-old Robert V. Westall almost eight months ago.
The trial date was set on the recommendation of McQueen's new attorney, Matthew Vaughn, of Fairfield. It is the third time a trial date has been set in McQueen's case.
Vaughn was appointed to represent the 21-year-old McQueen on Oct. 12. Vaughn replaced Mount Carmel attorneys George Woodcock and William Hudson who withdrew from the case on Sept. 28.
Woodcock and Hudson represented McQueen for six months, since just after his arrest in late March.
Vaughn told Hopkins he has reviewed almost all of the "discovery" files that were given to him a month ago.
A 10 a.m. Dec. 12 pre-trial hearing was also set. Vaughn said he could file various motions during the hearing. Also, the hearing could determine whether or not state special prosecutor Michael Vujovich will remain on the case.
A final pre-trial conference was set for 10 a.m. April 15.
Helen Marie Westall, the second person arrested in Robert Westall's death, also made a circuit court appearance Wednesday.
During a morning hearing, Helen Westall's trial date was vacated. Her trial had been scheduled to begin Monday. No new trial date was set.
Another pre-trial status hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 19.
Westall, who turned 48 on last week, is charged with solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire. She is accused of offering the then 20-year-old McQueen $10,000 and a 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in exchange for killing her uncle.
Both McQueen and Westall, have entered pleas of not guilty. McQueen is being held in the Lawrence County Jail, while Westall is in the Crawford County Jail.