Samuel status hearing continued to March 21

AnnGardner Eubank

by AnnGardner Eubank

HEATHSVILLE— A status hearing for Tyrone Samuel, charged with first degree murder, abduction by force or intimidation and aggravated murder during a rape, has been continued to March 21.

Samuel was charged following a near weeklong search for victim Area’L Smith after she went missing from a Claraville convenience store on January 12, 2022. 

Initially, a date for trial was supposed to be set during a January 18 status hearing.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Jane Wrightson, there are still several matters regarding scheduling and data collection that need to be resolved prior to a trial date being set.

“Cell phone and tower data will be a critical piece to this trial,” Wrightson said.

The court would rather have conflicts and delays regarding the case on the front-end rather than later when the trial already is underway, she added.

A conference with the defendant and the judge and other personnel will be held at 1 p.m. on March 21 at the Northumberland County Courts Building, 220 Judicial Place, Heathsville, to set a date for the trial.