James Worley murder trial moved to March, state offers plea deal

James Worley murder trial moved to March, state offers plea deal

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The trial for a man accused of murdering a young woman, was moved to March 12 during a pretrial hearing.

James Worley's original trial date was January 16 for the murder of Sierah Joughin. But one of Worley's attorneys said they obtained new information that they could not get ready for the trial date.

The defense team hired an expert to look into Worley's background. That expert is responsible for providing the jury with information on his upbringing, background and mental health during in the mitigation phase of the trial.

That expert recently interviewed Worley's sister, a police officer in California.

Worley's attorney told WTOL the information she provided was more than what attorneys expect, so the attorneys will require more work that cannot be done in less than a month.

"It's overwhelming to have this sprung on you so close to the trial date," Mark Berling, one of Worley's attorneys, said. "So there is simply no way to digest all of that and conduct all the testing that has to be done and have any proper report filed by the trial."

Due to the high profile death penalty case, the judge wanted to ensure Worley received all rights and has enough time to prepare for the trial to ensure it is not declared a mistrial.

The state offered their first written plea deal to Worley Monday as well. While the details of the detail were not made public, if Worley accepts the deal, he will not face the death penalty.

His attorneys have discussed the offer but are unsure what he will decide to do.

"You never know. This is the 20th capitol case I have done and each one has its own quirk. So sometimes they resolve; sometimes they don't," Berling said.

The plea deal will be placed on the record at a pretrial hearing, which is set to begin on February 12 at 1 p.m. Worley should have a decision by then.

If the case does move forward with a trial, jury selection for the trial is slated for March 5.

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