The murder trial of James Worley will be delayed until March 5 so that his defense team can process new information and so that Worley can decide whether to accept a plea agreement offered by the state.
At a pretrial hearing Wednesday, Fulton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Robinson granted the trial delay after Mark Berling, Worley’s attorney, told the court a private investigator for the defense unearthed previously unknown information about Worley during a visit with his sister, an Orange County, Calif., police officer. Berling said the information, which traced back to Worley’s birth, “was very helpful” in gathering even further information locally, as well as locating additional witnesses.
The information gathered was forwarded to John Fabian, a neuro-psychologist hired by the defense team, who also suggested more time was needed in order to process it.
Following the hearing, Berling said he literally has a three-foot pile of new information regarding Worley. He said Worley didn’t react negatively to that news.
“He lets us do what we need to do,” Berling said.
He also said he received a proposed plea agreement in the case from the State of Ohio several days ago that would remove the death penalty as a sentencing option. He said the offer has been discussed with Worley, and a decision will be revealed at his final pretrial on Feb. 12.
Worley faces a 19-count indictment in connection with the July 2016 murder of Sierah Joughin, a Metamora resident and University of Toledo student who disappeared during an evening bike ride on County Road 6. Authorities found her bound body three days later in a shallow grave not far from where she was last seen. An autopsy ruled the cause of death as asphyxiation.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.