Bentley suspect trial postponed

Friday, April 24, 2009 | 4:31 p.m. CDT; updated 11:49 a.m. CST, Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This story has been updated to correct *the title of Richard Hicks, Boone County assistant prosecutor.

COLUMBIA – The trial of one of the five men charged in connection with the 2008 shooting death of a Columbia man was postponed in Boone County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Malcolm Washington, 26, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in the June 2008 shooting death of 22-year-old Nathaniel Bentley. Defense attorney Kevin O'Brien said he needed additional time to interview the three men who have pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for testifying against Washington and Damon Williams.

Williams, 24, is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. Williams was originally charged with first-degree murder. His trial is scheduled for July 28.

Quillan Jacobs, 17, and Denzell Smith, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery. Michael Jaco, 18, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery. All three were originally charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. The original charges will be dropped if Smith, Jacobs and Jaco fulfill the conditions of their plea agreements.

In Washington's case, O'Brien asked for the continuance at a hearing on Monday in Boone County Circuit Court, but Judge Crane would not rule on the motion at the time. Boone County Assistant* Prosecutor Richard Hicks did not object to the continuance on Thursday, according to Missouri

Washington's trial was scheduled to begin on April 28. This is the third time his trial has been postponed. Washington's new trial date is pending.

Washington, Williams and Jaco allegedly forced their way into Bentley's Pimlico Drive duplex while Smith and Jacobs waited outside in their car, according to a probable cause statement filed with the court. They were searching for drugs and cash, the statement said.

Bentley was upstairs in his bedroom when at least one of the suspects entered the room. Witnesses told police they heard a gunshot before the suspects left with an Xbox game system, two purses and at least one cell phone, the statement said.

Bentley was transported to a hospital with a gunshot wound to his head. He was later pronounced dead.

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