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New judge will be appointed in murder case

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Under heavy security, Stanley Dishon appeared in Bullitt Circuit Court to be arraigned on charges of murder and kidnapping related to the 1999 death of Jessica Dishon.

However, the formal arraignment did not move forward as Circuit Judge Rodney Burress granted a motion from defense attorneys Melanie Foot Hollingsworth and Jennifer Wittmeyer to recuse himself from hearing the case.

As a result, regional judge Kelly Easton will assign a special judge to the proceedings.

(While Burress said he would report the transfer of the case to fellow circuit judge Elise Spainhour, she would most likely not be able to hear the case either as her family's law firm represented the first defendant in the case, David "Bucky" Brooks.)

The main concern by Hollingsworth was that Burress represented the late Charles Mann, a detective for the Bullitt County Sheriff's Office during the 2003 trial.

It was during the proceedings that Mann mentioned Brooks had taken a polygraph test, which is not admissible as evidence in Kentucky courts. As a result, then-Circuit Judge Thomas Waller ordered a mistrial.

Charges were ultimately dismissed against Brooks and no one had been charged in the death of the 17-year-old teenager until two weeks ago.

When Mann's comments resulted in a mistrial, a hearing was held as to whether Mann commented perjury when he said it was a mistake.

Burress represented Mann and it was decided that perjury had not been committed.

In her motion, Hollingsworth said that although she did not have knowledge of the discussions between Mann and Burress, there could be an inference that the attorney - now judge - would have knowledge of the testimony.

In the trial against Dishon, she expects the previous evidence in the case would be part of the prosecution's presentation.

Instead of waiting to address the issue later in the proceedings, Hollingsworth said it would be better to talk about the possibility now and not risk further delays.

In granting the motion for recusal, Burress said he did talk with Mann about the case which dealt with the perjury allegations.

While initially questioning the issue, Burress agreed to notify Spainhour that he would step down from the case.

As a result, Dishon's arraignment would be rescheduled for a later date. He remains in the Bullitt County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash bond.

At the time of the indictment, Dishon was already being held in the local detention center on unrelated sex charges dating back to his alleged involvement with a minor girl several years ago.

After the proceedings, both defense attorneys said there was no way to know the timing of the next court appearance.

They refused to comment on any discussions they have had with their client.

Several family members were present but did not wish to comment. Neither of Jessica Dishon's parents were present in the courtroom.

In addressing the media at the time of the indictment on Oct. 2, current sheriff David Greenwell said that within the past 5-6 months, the victim's uncle became a subject in the investigation.

It was in September 1999 that the teenager was reported missing. Her strangled and beaten body was found 17 days later off Greenwell Ford Road.

After the charges were dismissed against Brooks following the mistrial, the case remained open. Throughout the years, various tips were followed up by investigators.

While not giving details, Greenwell said some very good information was presented against Stanley Dishon and he feels confident that there will be a strong case made.