DOBSON — The trial of the three defendants in the May 25, 2012, shooting death of Mount Airy convenience store Donald Claude Arnder has been pushed back until mid-January.
Officials in the Surry County Clerk of Courts office say the trio is expected to appear in court on Jan. 14.
They had been scheduled to appear in court today.
Last month, Surry County District Attorney Rickey Bowman said the attorney representing one of the defendants, Emanuel William Foster, stepped down from the case to take a job as a prosecutor elsewhere in the state.
Foster, 24, is now represented by Forsyth County attorney Dan Dolan.
Bowman said yesterday that since Dolan had just recently been appointed to represent Foster, the trial was delayed to give him time to prepare an adequate defense.
“Any time someone has recently been appointed to represent a defendant in a case like this, we want to give them time to conduct discovery and prepare a case, so that’s why it’s being delayed,” he said.
Foster and co-defendants Joshua Robert Berry, 29, and Sarah Lynn Looney, 25, are charged with the shooting death of Arnder, 58, in what is believed to be a botched robbery attempt of Eddie’s Zip Food on U.S. 52.
The crime touched off a multi-state manhunt to round up the suspects, involving West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina law enforcement.
In early June last year, Mount Airy police traveled to Roanoke, Va., to take custody of Foster and transport him to Surry County, where he was served with warrants charging him with murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Foster was taken into custody at the Roanoke City Jail, where he was taken after being treated for several days at a hospital in the Virginia city. He was recovering from a pair of gunshot wounds sustained during the alleged Mount Airy robbery.
Joshua Berry was brought back to Surry County on July 20, 2012, and charged with murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
He was ultimately taken into custody after several days on the run in Bland, Va.
His wife, Sarah Looney, turned herself into the Bluefield Police Department the day after the fatal Mount Airy shooting.
She was taken into custody by Mount Airy police in Tazewell, Va., in August 2012, and transported to Surry County, where she was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and accessory after the fact to murder.
The three defendants are believed by police to have been involved in an alleged crime spree spanning four states, including robbery charges in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.
Berry, Foster and Looney, also known as Sarah Berry, were from Bluefield, W.Va., and are awaiting their trail in the Surry County Jail, where they are being held without bond.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.