LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – A nearly decade-old murder case in Columbiana County has been delayed again; this time due to COVID-19.
Wednesday morning, the case against Kevin Kirby had to be suspended because of exposure to the virus.
Judge Megan Bickerton explained the delay was needed out of what she called an “abundance of caution” to ensure the trial can proceed safely.
“We have an exposure, no positive. Nobody’s positive at this point, but we’re just being cautious to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said.
Kirby is charged with the murder of Melinda Todd, who was found beaten to death inside her Salem Township home in December of 2012, as well as the attempted murder of Todd’s then-five-year-old grandson. Investigators said the boy had been left for dead but survived.
Authorities believe the crimes were drug-related, but it wasn’t until October of 2019 that authorities were able to indict Kirby. By then, the defendant was already serving time in prison for an unrelated conviction on theft and workers’ compensation fraud.
With the new charges filed, Kirby’s trial has already been delayed twice. Monday, lawyers for both sides were able to seat a jury only to have the case suspended again.
“I apologize. I wish everything always went perfectly smooth, but this is the real world,” Judge Bickerton said.
At this point, opening statements are now expected next Tuesday.
Kirby faces life in prison if he’s convicted.