With the state Supreme Court's denial of an extraordinary appeal by attorney William Lumpkin, his trial on murder charges is back on track in Richmond County Superior Court.
Before the case can proceed further, however, attorneys must get laboratory results back, including the autopsy report for homicide victim Stan White, 64, attorneys said.
Mr. Lumpkin, 50, has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony murder, malice murder and theft in connection with Mr. White's death. The prominent Augusta attorney is accused of killing Mr. White, a Martinez real estate agent who owned Mr. Lumpkin's Evans home. Mr. White's body was found Sept. 5 in the Savannah River near Allendale, S.C.
Mr. Lumpkin's attorney, G. Terry Jackson of Savannah, filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court contesting the legality of a search warrant used to obtain a document from another attorney's law office. The document was the legal agreement outlining the financial arrangement for Mr. Lumpkin to buy his home back from Mr. White.
"There's absolutely no question it is error and will be reversed," Mr. Jackson said of a ruling by Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet. Judge Overstreet ruled in December that the search was legal and that the prosecution could have the document. It is now being analyzed at the crime laboratory.
The Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 21 that it didn't have jurisdiction in the matter of the search warrant at this time. With that issue now moot, Mr. Jackson said he's awaiting laboratory reports from the prosecutors, and drafting motions seeking to have different judges preside over future hearings than the judges who have so far issued search warrants in the case.
Mr. Jackson has already filed motions challenging the legality of search warrants served on Mr. Lumpkin's downtown Augusta law office, and his Evans home. Investigators believe Mr. White was killed at the law office on Sept. 2.
District Attorney Danny Craig said he anticipates it will take two to three more weeks to get the laboratory reports.
Mr. Craig said he is awaiting full information from the laboratory before deciding whether the legal aggravating circumstances exist to prosecute Mr. Lumpkin on capital murder charges.