Johnston Trial Delayed

By John Ford
Neosho Daily News [Missouri]
February 21, 2007

George Otis Johnston will not be going to trial next week as planned.

Johnston, 63, the pastor of Grandview Valley Independent Baptist Church in Granby, faces 17 felony counts of child sexual abuse in Newton County.

Jury selection was to have gotten under way Friday in Cass County, with jurors bused to Neosho Monday and sequestered for the duration of the trial.

According to Bill Dobbs, Newton County assistant prosecutor, the case was continued after a request from the defense that sequestration be done as soon as a jury was selected Friday afternoon, continue over the weekend, and continue until Monday afternoon, when the trial was scheduled to begin in Neosho.

However, 40th Circuit Court Judge Timothy Perigo denied that request, offering instead that jury selection be done Monday.

However, Cass County officials balked at this suggestion, saying facilities would not be available Monday for the voir dire process.

"Now, we have about a 30-day window, from mid-May to the middle of June, for a trial," Dobbs said.

A definite trial date has not been set as of late Wednesday morning.


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