One week reserved for Anderson trial next month

Joseph Anderson (right) sits with defense attorney Don Thomas at a pretrial hearing in Caldwell County Circuit Court Friday. Caldwell is charged with murder in the April 2017 death of William Grant Beckner. His weeklong trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 20 in Livingston County.

DAVE THOMPSON | The Sun

PRINCETON -- The week-long trial for the man accused of stabbing another man to death at the Elks Lodge is set to begin in August.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on the estimated time for a jury trial at a pretrial hearing Friday.

Joseph Anderson, 55, of Princeton, faces one count of murder in the April 16, 2017, death of William Grant Beckner.

Anderson's trial begins Aug. 20, and will take place in Livingston County, after Woodall ordered the venue changed.

At Anderson's last hearing in May, defense attorney Don Thomas moved for Circuit Judge C.A. "Woody" Woodall to dismiss the case.

Thomas based the motion on provisions of the Kentucky Code allowing for self-defense if the accused believed he was in danger of death.

Woodall denied that motion last week, Caldwell County Commonwealth's Attorney Carrie Ovey-Wiggins said Friday.

The matter will be decided by a jury, though Thomas indicated Friday he believes the defense has the right to instruct the jury regarding the state's self-defense statute.

Kentucky's code allows for the use of deadly physical force "only when the defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect himself" from death, serious injury, kidnapping, rape by force of threat, a felony involving the use of force or other circumstances regarding forced entry into the defendant's home or vehicle.

The code states that a person who is attacked has no duty to retreat if he or she is not engaged in illegal activity and has a right to be in the place where the attack happened.

Thomas has argued that Beckner was the aggressor in the fight and that video shows Anderson's attempt to extricate himself from the situation.

Ovey-Wiggins has countered that the state believes Anderson acted aggressively that night. She also pointed to the 17 stab wounds on Beckner to counter the self-defense claim.

Anderson is being held in the Marshall County Detention Center, after Thomas, who works out of Benton, requested he be moved in order to help him consult with his client.

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