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Newly presented evidence delays trial in '11 murder case

Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The discovery of approximately 280 text messages and photographs forced a delay in the trial concerning the January 2011 shooting death of a New York native.

Anthony Patrick Cole's defense received those items Tuesday, the same day his trial was scheduled to start. Now it needs more time to review the electronic evidence and draft motions concerning its use at trial, said defense attorney Dwight Staples.

Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell granted the delay, pushing back Cole's trial until at least Feb. 26, 2013. Both sides will gather in mid-January to discuss motions involving the newly discovered evidence and prosecution concerns about a defense psychiatrist.

Cole, 21, of Huntington is charged with murder in connection with the Jan. 26, 2011, shooting death of Dashawn Gilbert, a New York native who had been living in Huntington. It happened in an apartment at 7011/2 8th Ave., just two blocks from the home of Cole's family.

The defense is prepared to argue that Cole suffered diminished mental capacity at the time of Gilbert's death.

An investigator previously testified Cole, then 19, had contemplated suicide in the apartment's bedroom, but hesitated at the thought of devastating his two younger brothers. Cole then exited the room, heard Gilbert make a comment and looked at the victim saying, "May God have mercy on your soul," as he fired the fatal gunshot.

The two men had just met the night before and had decided to stay with the apartment's tenant, who was a mutual friend, according to the investigator's prior testimony.

The newly discovered text messages and photographs also will affect an unrelated robbery case involving Cole. He is accused of a Dec. 20, 2010, attack on a woman in her 20s. An indictment alleges Cole hit the woman in the head with his handgun and demanded money and her cellphone before taking her debit card and wallet.

The murder and robbery cases are being tried separately with different defense attorneys. If convicted, both charges carry possible life prison sentences.

The 8th Avenue apartment marked just one of various places Cole had stayed since the Dec. 20 robbery, according to the prior testimony.

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