Suspect in Corning Baseball Bat Attack Appears in Court for Pre-Trial Hearing - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Corning, AR

Suspect in Corning Baseball Bat Attack Appears in Court for Pre-Trial Hearing

AUGUST 31, 2006 - Posted at 7:59 a.m. CDT, updated at 1:36 p.m. CDT


CORNING, AR - The primary suspect in April 15 attack on a Corning teenager was in court today for a pre-trial appearance.

Donald Groning, 38, is charged with first degree battery and tampering with evidence in a case that Clay County authorities called a hate crime.  Groning and one other suspect, a juvenile, allegedly attacked 19-year-old Craig Matthews of Corning on April 15.  Groning is the son of Corning Police Chief Jim Groning.

Matthews suffered 20 different skull fractures and five bruises on the brain as a result of the attack, and spent several weeks in a Cape Girardeau, Missouri, hospital.

The suspect's mother, 60-year-old Wanda Emmons, was also charged in the case with tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 

Not much occured in today's court session, although Groning's attorney asked Circuit Judge John Fogleman for permission for his client to leave the state for his job as a truck driver.  Part of the condition for Groning's bond was that he could not leave the state before the trial, which is set for October 2.  That condition was orginally set by Circuit Judge Ralph Wilson.  Given those circumstances, Fogleman said he would consult with Wilson before issuing a ruling on the request.

Meanwhile, K8 News learned that the trial may not start on the scheduled date of October 2.   Groning's attorney, public defender David Copeland, is expected to resign his position before the trial, meaning it will probably be temporarily delayed.

Also, Clay County Sheriff Ronnie Cole said, given the nature of the crime, he may provide for additional security for the trial, if he thinks it is needed.


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