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Judge sets date for new trial in '08 homicide

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 11:55 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The suspect in an August 2008 homicide remained behind bars late Wednesday afternoon, one day after a circuit judge set bond and weeks after the state Supreme Court overturned his initial conviction.

Robert S. Frazier stands charged with murder in the killing of Kathryn Gale Smith, 53. She died Aug. 25, 2008, from a gunshot wound to the face during a domestic dispute at a residence in the 500 block of Richmond Street in Guyandotte

Frazier returned last week to the Western Regional Jail and appeared Tuesday before Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson.

The judge set a $50,000 bond for Frazier's release. He also scheduled a pretrial hearing for Feb. 22 and a trial for April 16.

By a 4-1 decision, the state Supreme Court overturned Frazier's conviction.

The majority determined Ferguson erred in allowing the state's chief medical examiner to testify on behalf of his terminated deputy, who performed Smith's autopsy. Those justices concluded depending upon the agency's chief deprived Frazier's defense of a chance to cross-examine the deputy on contradictions between his clinical summary and autopsy report.

The defense has insisted the shooting was accidental as Frazier pulled the gun from Smith, who first threatened him.

Due to the initial verdict, Frazier now can face no more than a 40-year prison sentence and conviction for second-degree murder.

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