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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Animal cruelty trial continued until December

  • A trial for a Leavenworth man charged with felony animal cruelty has been continued for two months.
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  • A trial for a Leavenworth man charged with felony animal cruelty has been continued for two months.
    Jerald Halstead's case had been scheduled to go to trial next week, but a continuance was granted Friday in Leavenworth County District Court. The trial is now set for Dec. 10.
    Halstead, 23, was arrested July 8 by Leavenworth police after a wounded dog was found in a trash bag in a wooded area in the 1500 block of Choctaw Street. The dog was put down by police.
    Halstead is accused of carrying the wounded animal to the wooded area after it was shot by Joshua Elliott.
    Elliott pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty in August. Last month, he received a 180-day jail sentence and probation.
    The continuance in the Halstead case was requested by the prosecution.
    Reviewing the reason for the request, District Judge Gunnar Sundby said it appeared a witness would be unavailable for the trial, which was scheduled for Tuesday, and it's now believed the trial may take more than a day.
    Halstead's attorney, Michael Willcott, said he agreed the trial probably will last longer than a day.
    Willcott said even though the prosecution had objected to an earlier request he made for a continuance, he was not objecting the prosecution's request to reschedule the trial.
    Sundby said the trial had been scheduled for Tuesday with the idea it would last only a day. He said jury deliberations could continue into Wednesday. But he can't have the evidentiary portion of the trial continue into Wednesday and still handle the docket he normally has on Wednesdays.
    The judge found there was good cause for continuing the trial.
    Sundby said he has a pretty full trial schedule for the fall. He said the trial could be continued to Dec. 10, or it could be placed on the docket for an earlier date as a backup to other trials.
    Assistant County Attorney Sherri Becker, who's prosecuting the case, said Dec. 10 is still within the speedy trial requirement for the case.
    Sundby said Halstead's trial will be "first up" Dec. 10.
    This was not the first time the trial was continued. It had been set for Tuesday after a continuance was requested by the defense.
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