RIPLEY, W.Va. — The West Virginia hearing of a man accused of fatally sexually assaulting the 10-month-old daughter of his then-girlfriend in 2016 has been closed to the media and public.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Jackson Circuit Judge Craig Tatterson approved a joint motion from prosecutors and defense attorneys to close 33-year-old Benjamin Ryan Taylor’s hearing Thursday. Taylor is charged with first-degree murder, among other charges.
County prosecutor Katie Franklin moved to close it, citing a 1980 state Supreme Court case that says a judge must consider if the defendant’s right to a fair trial will be damaged if court proceedings remain open. It also says a judge must consider if pre-trial hearing discussions will increase adverse publicity.
During the three-hour hearing, the attorneys argued over evidence of lab results.
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.