Trial date set, bond lowered in 2017 murder case




  • In US
  • 2022-12-08 00:09:00Z
  • By McAlester News-Capital, Okla.

Dec. 7-A man accused of murdering a McAlester woman is set to face trial in May 2023 after a Wednesday hearing.

Attorneys for Cody Ketchum filed a motion in November asking Pittsburg County Associate District Judge Tim Mills to set a trial date in February 2023 citing several concerns that a speedy trial would not be guaranteed.

Ketchum, 36, was indicted in October with first-degree murder and a misdemeanor charge of destroying evidence in the death of Holly Cantrell - the McAlester woman who disappeared in January 2017 before her skeletal remains were discovered and later identified in 2020.

Anna Brannon, a prosecutor for the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, said there was no objection made to the motion, but that Oklahoma statute allows for a trial to begin within one year of a defendant's arrest.

"This trial is going to take two weeks," Ketchum's defense attorney Brecken Wagner said. "You want to run the risk of putting this trial further back in the year and not get to it within a year?"

Wagner argued case law states a trial does not occur within a year that there is an argument for a speedy trial violation.

Brannon and her co-council Heather Anderson told Mills there was conflicts for a trial set in March due to having jury trials set in other counties and Grand Jury but said that a jury trial in May would work.

Wagner asked the judge to set the trial in March and said despite not having all of the evidence, he would be ready for trial.

The November motion Wagner filed claims the AG's office has not provided the defense any discovery.

"They have all of the evidence. I have none," Wagner said. "And I'll be ready."

Brannon objected to Wagner's claim.

"Council states he has not received a single thing. That is not true," Brannon said.

Brannon said Wagner received 536 pages of discovery; a hard drive with digital, photographic, and audio evidence; and the office plans to send him a phone dump and Facebook returns once those are completed.

Mills granted the motion to set a trial date and set the trial to begin in May 2023.

Wagner also requested Ketchum's $1 million bond be lowered, claiming that Ketchum could still work at his job, and that he has done so for the past five years under the same suspicion as a suspect.

Brannon objected to the oral motion, stating that there is a difference between being a suspect and being charged with murder. The prosecutor also argued that the products Ketchum worked with, if he still had a job, makes it a "risk to the public."

"We know what happens to cold cases in this county," Wagner stated while referencing a previous case in Pittsburg County. "A man sat in jail for nine months only to have his case dismissed."

Mills ruled that despite not having clear evidence Ketchum could go back to his previous employer, agreed to lower Ketchum's bond to $750,000.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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