New trial date set for Michelle Despain's Trial - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New trial date set for Michelle Despain's Trial

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Michelle Despain (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Michelle Despain (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Murder scene; August 24, 2011 Murder scene; August 24, 2011
Terrance Barker (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Terrance Barker (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Carl Kelley during a recent court appearance Carl Kelley during a recent court appearance
Johnny Hubbard (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Johnny Hubbard (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A Jonesboro woman accused of plotting to kill her husband was back in court Monday.

According to Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington's Office, the defense requested a motion for continuance in the trial and it was granted. Despain will be back in court for a pretrial hearing on April 21. Her trial as been set for May 5-16, 2014.

In August, Despain's defense team requested a change of venue. It was denied.  The trial will be held in Jonesboro.

Judge Hill did decide that no cameras would be allowed in the courtroom for this case.

Michelle Despain is the only defendant left who is charged in the murder of her husband Marc Despain.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington says her father, Carl Kelley, was sentenced to 35 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on Friday January 4.

Kelley pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the shooting death of son-in-law Marc on December 4, 2012.

The other two men involved in the murder for hire, Johnny Hubbard and Terrance Odell Barker, have already pleaded guilty.

Johnny Hubbard pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension in the death of Marc Despain, and guilty to revocation of probation from a prior drug charge. Hubbard was sentenced to 18 years. 

On May 7, 2012, Terrance Odell Barker pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the shooting death of Marc Despain. Barker was sentenced to 35 years. Barker was the trigger man in the murder.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Michelle Despain and Carl Kelley conspired in hiring Terrance Barker to murder 34-year-old husband and son-in-law Marc Despain.

Police say Despain was shot and killed around 3pm Wednesday August 24, 2011 at his home at 4320 Jenni Lane.

Kelley is also accused of driving Barker to Despain's house and letting him inside the home to murder his son-in-law.

According to the probable cause affidavit, phone records show that Michelle Despain and her father Carl Kelley sent several text messages to one another, including several on the day of the murder. Police say they deleted the vast majority of those texts on the day of the homicide.

Convicted shooter Terrance Barker told police during the murder, Carl Kelley was giving play-by-play details to someone as they were taking place. Police say phone records corroborate his testimony.

Police say one text on Michelle's phone was meant to be deleted but remained on her phone and was obtained by JPD.

JPD also extracted text messages from Carl Kelley's phone that indicate Michelle Despain was involved in the planning, and execution of the conspiracy to kill her husband Marc.

The affidavit states, Barker agreed to provide testimony against any individual charged in the death of Marc Despain, including but not limited to the role Kelley played in securing Barker's aid in the homicide, evidence as to Kelley's motive, and testimony as to Kelley's behavior that further implicates Michelle Despain.

The affidavit states that evidence will show Kelley and Despain engaged in a conspiracy to contact and promise payment to the other individuals to cause the death of Marc Despain. It also reads that Kelley and Despain did so for personal reasons, including but not limited to the collection of insurance proceeds which were to become available at the victim's death.

Jonesboro Police say additional digital evidence in the case led to the arrest of Michelle Despain.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you the latest details as soon as they become available.

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