Trial Date Postponed for Suspect in Corning Hate Crime

OCTOBER 2, 2006 - Posted at 4:23 p.m. CDT

CORNING, AR - A circuit court trial that was scheduled to begin tomorrow for the suspect charged with severely beating an African-American teenager with a baseball bat has been postponed.

According to Clay County prosecutor Mike Trail, the trial for 38-year-old Donald Groning of Corning was postponed until December 18.  The delay was granted because the new public defender recently took over the job after the previous defender resigned.  Trail says the new public defender told a circuit judge that he needed more time to prepare for the trial, and that request was granted this morning.

Groning, who is white, is the son of Corning Police Chief Jim Groning, and was arrested in April on charges of first-degree battery and tampering with evidence.