Due to a scheduling change Thursday, the three defendants convicted in the death of Mount Airy store owner Donald Arnder may be sentenced together in federal court in November.
One of the co-defendants, Emmanuel William Foster, 27, of Bluefield, West Virginia, had been scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
A court spokesperson indicated Thursday morning that a judge rescheduled Foster’s hearing.
According to court documents, the hearing now will occur on Nov. 15, the same day as co-defendants Sarah Looney Berry, 28, and Joshua Berry, 33, of Bluefield, West Virginia.
The trio pleaded guilty in April to several federal charges in connection with Arnder’s 2012 shooting and the attempted robbery of his store, Eddie’s Zip Foods.
Sarah Berry had originally been scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 29, but that hearing was pushed back to Nov. 15 several days prior.
Joshua Berry had originally been scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 15.
Arnder, 58, was shot when the co-defendants, in the midst of a multi-state crime spree, tried to rob his store.
They were apprehended shortly after, charged and eventually indicted in Surry County with felony murder, felony conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and felonious attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Sarah Berry had additionally been charged with misdemeanor accessory to murder after the fact.
The state filed a notice of its intention to seek the death penalty in documents dated Oct. 12, 2012.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office eventually picked up the case, and a federal Grand Jury indicted the suspects in October 2015.
The terms of their plea agreements signed in March and April state that Foster and Joshua Berry face a minimum of 32 years to a maximum of life imprisonment, and Sarah Berry, Joshua’s wife, faces 10 years to life.
Despite having been prosecuted in federal court, the state charges against Foster and the Berry’s are still pending.
U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Giorno confirmed in June that “all the prosecution options remain open,” and that the resolution of the trio’s federal cases, “doesn’t impact the right of the state to go after them.”
Joshua Berry, Sarah Berry and Foster are scheduled to appear in Surry County Superior Court on Dec. 6.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.