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Clinch trial delayed until fall

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The trial of a Hallsville man accused of shooting his brother-in-law in the parking lot of the Clark Lane McDonald's has been tentatively rescheduled for September or October.

William Clinch, 38, is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the September 2007 shooting death of Jeremy Bohannon, 32, of Rocheport. Clinch's trial, scheduled to begin May 12, was postponed in a hearing in Boone County Circuit Court on Tuesday to allow the new lead attorney on Clinch's defense team time to gain familiarity with the case's extensive history.

Public Defender Tony Manansala will replace former Assistant Public Defender Michael Byrne as the head of the three-member defense team. Byrne left the public defender's office in March to open a private practice. Another member of Clinch's defense team, Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Bukowski, is currently on maternity leave until July.

Manansala requested the extra time to review "literally a file cabinet full of documents" on the case. Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight did not object to the continuance. Boone County Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler said he would soon schedule a date for the trial, which both Manansala and Knight expect to last four to five days.

Clinch and Bohannon had "a long history of extreme animosity," according to documents filed with the court. Bohannon and Clinch's sister, Amanda Clinch, had divorced a month prior to the shooting. Amanda Clinch had accused her ex-husband of threatening and abusing her and the couple's three young children, according to the documents. She, William Clinch and their father, Dennis Clinch, all had orders of protection against Bohannon.

Clinch shot Bohannon multiple times in the leg and the head in the McDonald's parking lot, the court documents said. Bohannon was at the restaurant for a scheduled supervised visit with his children.

This is the most recent continuance in a series of delays in Clinch's trial. In January, Knight dropped and refiled charges against Clinch the morning the trial was set to begin after a ruling by Judge Gene Hamilton in a pre-trial hearing on the previous day significantly damaged his case.


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