Coronavirus concerns again postpone trial for suspect in Adams County sheriff’s deputy’s killing

The trial for a man accused of killing an Adams County Sheriff’s deputy was delayed again Wednesday because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Mark Warner ruled that the trial for Dreion Dearing, who is charged with killing Deputy Heath Gumm during a chase in 2018, couldn’t go forward as scheduled on Monday because of safety concerns amid the pandemic.

The trial is expected to last at least three weeks and involve about 150 witnesses. Because of those two issues — the length and number of people involved — it could not proceed safely at this time even with social distancing measures in place, Warner said during a brief hearing Wednesday in which he reluctantly postponed the trial to Sept. 21.

Dearing’s public defenders objected to the postponement. The trial was previously set for March but was delayed, and then Warner declared a mistrial in April because of the novel coronavirus. The case was reset for Aug. 10.

Gumm, 31, was killed Jan. 24, 2018, as he chased after a suspect while responding to a report of an assault.

Dearing will be back in court for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 4.

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