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Trial dates set for accused killer

Brian Powers - bpowers@perutribune.com

PERU — Almost a year after the killing of 22-year-old Summitville man Drake Smith, a jury trial has been set for one of the three accused murderers.

Court proceedings are still continuing for the suspects of the May 2018 murder of Smith, as Joshua Kean appeared in court via video conference from the Miami County Jail Thursday morning.

Kean, a 21-year-old Marion native, sat in silence on the screen of the courtroom video conference system as defense attorney Gary Cook, Miami County Prosecutor Jeff Sinkovics and Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr discussed the status of the case.

Cook requested an August trial, saying there was still a load of preparatory work for him to complete.

“We’ve got somewhere around 3,000 to 4,000 pages to transcribe,” he said. “I’ve still got well over 100 hours of work to do on this.”

Sinkovics requested two weeks of court time for the trial.

Spahr agreed to the prosecutor’s request and set the trial for Aug. 19-30, and also set a pre-trial status hearing on June 27 at 8:30 a.m.

Sinkovics requested another status hearing before June, just to make sure the case continues to progress.

“I anticipate issues can arise with this,” he said. “I think keeping it on track in the courtroom is a good idea.”

Spahr and Cook agreed and added an extra pre-trial hearing on April 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Two other people have been accused of various crimes in the murder of Smith, whose body was found by mushroom hunters on the Okie Pinokie Trail May 19 of last year. Ethan Cain, a 23-year-old Lafontaine resident, and Brittany Morris, now 18, of Jonesboro, are both facing various felony and misdemeanor charges in Smith’s homicide.

Both Morris and Cain are scheduled to appear next in court at 8:30 a.m. March 21.