Grand jury to hear evidence against one murder suspect

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 1, 2002

Legal proceedings against two teens accused of capital murder,car jacking and arson took another step forward Wednesday inLincoln County Justice Court.

Jerrard T. Cook, 17, of 2123 Madison Road, and Cearic A. Barnes,18, of 830 Beauregard St., appeared in court for preliminaryhearings. However, James Lappan, attorney with the Office ofCapital Defense in Jackson, was granted a motion to reviewadditional information about Cook’s case and his preliminaryhearing was rescheduled for Aug. 19.

Cook and Barnes face capital murder, car jacking, arson andconspiracy charges in connection with the death of Marvin Durr,whose burned car was found June 18 on South Washington Street.

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Following testimony from Sheriff’s Department Investigator LanceFalvey, the case against Barnes was officially bound over forpresentation to the grand jury. The grand jury is schedule toconvene Aug. 27.

Testimony Wednesday indicated the pair flagged down Durr onWilliams Street and the three went to South Washington Street.Authorities have said it appeared that Cook and Barnes were intenton stealing a car and using it in a robbery.

Representatives from the public defender’s office were presentfor Cook’s and Barnes’ initial appearance in justice court on June21.

However, the office was not officially assigned to represent thesuspects in the case. Gus Sermos, assistant public defender,represented Barnes during yesterday’s hearing.

Public Defender Lesa Baker said legal representation coulddepend on grand jury action and the families’ ability to hire theirown legal counsel.

“I’ve asked them to let me know if they need the publicdefender,” Baker said.

The grand jury may indict on capital murder charges and plainmurder charges. If there are capital murder indictments, Baker saidher office would need assistance of the Office of CapitalDefense.

Justice Court Judge Judy Martin reaffirmed a decision to notgrant bond for Cook and Barnes and the suspects remain in theLincoln County Jail.