Kearney case moving forward

Mar. 20, 2014 @ 07:36 PM

The first-degree murder case involving a 16-year-old from Louisburg was declared exceptional in Vance County Superior Court on Thursday morning.

Judge James Hardin accepted the motion by Vance County Assistant District Attorney William L. Griffin Jr. to handle Joey Lamont Kearney’s case outside the case management system, which is a three-stage process to prepare cases for trial or resolve them before trial.

Since the case was removed from the CMS, it will advance directly to the trial phases.

Kearney’s defense attorney David R. Waters said a case can be declared exceptional when it involves serious charges or a complex, ongoing investigation.

“This case was declared exceptional because it does not accomplish anything to bring the case to routine pretrial settings,” he said.

Hardin also granted Waters’ request for his client to have the assistance of an investigator, who might be tasked with interviewing witnesses or reviewing the investigative findings of the state.

Kearney’s next court appearance was not scheduled.

He faces a first-degree murder charge in the December shooting death of 63-year-old Roger Dell Tant.

He is also being charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the double homicide of Akesia Michelle Toney, 37, and her 16-year-old daughter, Brianna Jones.

The two women were found dead in the early morning hours of Dec. 31, 2013, at their 1755 West River Road, Franklinton, home.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.