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Monday, January 21, 2008

Prosecutors set to unveil evidence in Devon Epps case

It's been nearly three months since Greenville County's top lawman said what most people already suspected:

"Amanda Smith is responsible for the death of her son."

With those words, Sheriff Steve Loftis prepared the community for what is sure to be an exceptionally long and drawn-out legal battle. The process begins this week.

Wednesday, Solicitor Bob Ariail and his team of prosecutors will go before Greenville County's top magistrate, Diane Cagle, and lay out the evidence against Amanda Smith. Or, in reality, Ariail will lay out just enough evidence to convince Cagle to bind the case over for trial.

It is, in short, more ceremony than battle. I have watched more preliminary hearings than I can even remember, a majority of them in front of Cagle. Never has there ever been a question whether a case of this magnitude would go to trial. It's just gotta be done.

The reality of this week's proceedings is that the public will get its first taste of Amanda Smith, defendant. We will also get a chance to hear the basic outline of Ariail's case.

I always loved prelims because they were usually short, but chocked full of information. I had been looking forward to this one for two months. Alas, this hearing is happening on a day I'm going to be on the road. I cannot cancel this trip and will have to rely on the good folks at Greenville Online to get my fix.

Ariail, to the best of my knowledge, has yet to announce whether he intends to seek the death penalty against Smith. I would still bet he does not, but Ariail has surprised me before. Regardless, the trial itself is probably still a good year away.

I remain disappointed I can't be in court on Wednesday. If any of you good e-mail buddies hear anything before I do, shoot me a note.

Previous Coverage:

Reading between the lines of Devon Epps' death
Devon Epps, Amanda Smith and the difficulties of reporting crime news
Devon Epps: Scene of the Crime?
Rapid Eye Reality coverage of Epps case makes it to print
Devon Epps: Waiting
Devon Epps: Pictures
The Missing Memorial Page
On Being Devon Epps' Mom
Amanda Smith arrested in death of son Devon Epps

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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