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Murder trial now faces delay

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By Larry Chambers, Staff

INDEPENDENCE — A new trial date has been set for the man charged with first-degree murder in the 2002 shooting death of Brandon Billings.
Chad Allen Reeves, 31, agreed earlier this month to a speedy trial, meaning his case would be heard in the next five months, but he appeared in Grayson County Circuit Court last Friday to waive that right.
In court March 28, Judge Brett Geisler asked Reeves if he understood that he had the right for a speedy trial, and he said “yes.”

After searching for a suitable date for the trial, Grayson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Doug Vaught and Reeves’ attorney, Jonathon Venzie of Independence agreed to schedule the trial for Dec. 15-20.
They told Geisler they felt the jury trial would take five days to complete.
In a court appearance March 21, Reeves’ trial was tentatively set for June 23-27. That date won’t work out because Venzie has a court date in Carroll County Circuit Court that week.
Vaught also made motions for Reeves to submit a DNA sample and be fingerprinted.
Venzie objected to the motions. It was his argument that his client should not be required to provide evidence to the Commonwealth.
Geisler granted both of Vaught’s motions.
Venzie said he felt that he should be granted access to certain evidence in the case.
Vaught said he didn’t object to Venzie’s motion, but had to decide what to divulge.
It was decided that Venzie should be entitled to inspect grand jury transcripts. The documents will remain at the Grayson County Courthouse, possibly in the clerk of court’s office, while they are examined
Following a lengthy investigation, Reeves and a second suspect, George Albert Harper III, were both charged in January with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in the murder of Billings.
Billings, 18, was a senior at Galax High School and a member of the Maroon Tide football team. His body was found in the driver’s seat of his Ford Ranger pickup truck in an isolated area off Patton Mill Road on Oct. 6, 2002. He had been shot multiple times.
Both Reeves and Harper were serving prison sentences on unrelated charges when they were indicted for murder. Reeves is serving time for a 2006 federal conviction for methamphetamine distribution. He was transferred to the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin on March 5, where he is being held without bond.
Harper, 40, is currently a prisoner at Dillwyn Correctional Center. His release date is June 2, 2015.