Defense Attorney Wants Dirkhising Case Slowed Down

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - An attorney for one of two homosexual men accused of raping and murdering a 13-year-old Arkansas boy told CNSNews.com he needs more time to prepare his defense and wants to see the case slowed down.

Tim Buckley, an attorney for Davis Don Carpenter Jr., told CNSNews.com the defense needs more time to prepare arguments against presenting evidence to a jury. Carpenter, 38, and Joshua Macave Brown, 22, are both charged with capital murder and six counts of rape in the death of Jesse Dirkhising on September 26, 1999. Carpenter and Brown are scheduled to go on trial in April and face the death penalty if convicted.

Additionally, Buckley asked the court last week to have the state medical examiner's office to preserve bodily fluids gathered at the crime scene in case further independent tests need to be done.

The 13-year-old allegedly was drugged, bound and gagged, and raped repeatedly at the men's apartment in Rogers. A coroner said the boy suffocated because of the position in which he was left.

Buckley also said that pre-trial publicity - based on evidence he said was leaked by the state - has prejudiced the local population to a point where it is not possible to find an unbiased jury in Benton County.

"The judge ordered the facts constituting probable cause to be sealed but somebody ignored his order and gave this information to the press, which substantially prejudiced our client from the very beginning," said Buckley.

"Because ever since then, anytime anything is done in this case - if we file whatever kind of motion - it's a chance for the press to recount the whole story again, according to information that was leaked initially," Buckley told CNSNews.com.

The defense also filed a motion last week asking for a postponement of a January 28 suppression hearing. "I would like to have everything the state has in the way of evidence and be able to examine it before we start making critical decisions in this case," Buckley said.

Lawyers for Brown already have filed a motion for a change of venue; Buckley said his defense team is "anticipating" filing a similar motion. The defense also has complained to the sheriff's office that dressing the suspects in bullet-proof vests while they were being transported to and from the court is creating an impression of guilt in the minds of the public and should be discontinued.

"But the sheriff's office is adamant that for security reasons they wear those to and from court," Buckley said.

"This case, for obvious reasons, has generated a lot of emotion. People are making decisions based on what they read in the local press and on the little they know about the facts."

"Benton County has an older population, and I would say there are a lot of people who have already made up their minds about this case," Buckley said.

If a change of venue is granted, the case would go to another county within the judicial district. In Arkansas, judicial districts are usually made up of four or five counties, but in this case, Benton County is a single county judicial district.

"I think you could legitimately say it could be moved anywhere in the state. That would mean we could seat a jury who didn't already know everything they thought they needed to know about this case and already made up their minds."