Delay allowed in Bryant murder case

A change of plea hearing in Bartholomew Circuit Court for a local man accused of murder in the shooting death of his stepfather was continued after prosecutors requested a delay.

Damion Bryant, 20, is accused of killing his 49-year-old stepfather, Wayne E. McGeorge Jr., last Thanksgiving, according to court records.

During a scheduled change of plea hearing Monday, chief deputy prosecutor Kimberly Sexton-Yeager requested additional time. She told Judge Kelly Benjamin the state is still interviewing witnesses and examining evidence.

But Bryant’s court-appointed public defender, Chris Monroe, objected to the delay.

Monroe told the court he has not yet received an autopsy report on the victim. Sexton-Yeager said those documents had just arrived at her office late last week, and that she would provide them to Monroe later that day.

The defense also said they have not received required lists of exhibits or witnesses from the prosecution as well, Monroe said.

The judge has scheduled a pre-trial conference for Monday, April 3 at 1:30 p.m. During the conference, the judge and attorneys are expected to evaluate what is necessary to move the case to trial, as well as establish dates for certain tasks to be completed.

Bryant’s trial remains tentatively set for April 11 at 8:30 a.m.

The shooting took place during the early evening of Nov. 24 inside a home in the Talberton Addition, southwest of Edinburgh. According to a probable cause affidavit, Bryant grabbed a .308 Winchester rifle while upstairs in his bedroom after being told by his younger siblings that McGeorge was fighting with their mother, Angela.

McGeorge was not inside the house on North Bluff Road by the time Bryant got downstairs, which prompted the defendant to send his younger siblings next door to their grandparents, the court document states.

Bryant said when his stepfather was drinking, he could become aggressive and “things could go bad and (Bryant) may have to ‘punch him or shoot him,’ ” the affidavit states.

When McGeorge returned, Bryant was still holding his hunting rifle and when McGeorge came closer, Bryant told investigators he loaded the firearm, the affidavit states.

He then told investigators that McGeorge pushed on him and put his hands around his neck, and that Bryant then pushed McGeorge away with the barrel of the gun, which then discharged, striking McGeorge in the abdomen, according to the affidavit.

McGeorge was pronounced dead at the hospital. Bryant told investigators he doesn’t know if he hit the trigger or if the gun went off, the affidavit stated.