by AnnGardner Eubank
HEATHSVILLE—Tyrone N. Samuel of Heathsville will stand trial in 2023 on charges of abduction by force, aggravated murder during a rape, and murder in the first degree of 28-year-old Ahrea’L Smith in January.
The charges stem from Smith’s disappearance from a Claraville convenience store and subsequent investigation by law enforcement authorities.
Following a mental examination hearing Wednesday, November 9, in Northumberland County Circuit Court, Samuel was deemed fit to stand trial. According to his attorney, Anna Lindemann, Samuel has expressed his intention to plead not guilty to the charges.
Lindemann asked for state funds to be allocated to the defense for forensic expertise, digital evidence and to obtain information from the FBI as well as other experts. She said those funds are necessary considering the severity of the charges Samuel is facing.
After no objection from Commonwealth’s Attorney Jane Wrightson, Judge David F. Pugh ordered the court to authorize up to $10,000 for the defense to use for forensic expertise relating to the case.
Samuel will be back in the courtroom on January 18, 2023, to set a date for trial.