A man accused of murdering three people at a Wolfe Street residence in 2017 will have to begin his trial either April 27 or May 4, or wait until next year. That was the scheduling guidance issued by Glynn County Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison at a motions hearing Friday.
According to evidence presented to a Glynn County grand jury in October of that year, Roger Lee Owens killed Carson Holliman Sr., 64, Vondell Holliman, 63, and their grandson, Christopher Holliman, 24, in a gang-inspired home invasion June 17.
He allegedly used a revolver in the killings and committed them to earn credibility in the Gangster Disciples street gang. Police statements from the time allege Owens also intended to rob a neighbor of the Hollimans who was in the Bloods street gang.
Owens’ attorney said the defense co-counsel is scheduled for a three-week vacation in March, but they don’t want to continue the trial because they’re concerned prosecutors may turn up additional snitch witnesses.
There are three people currently who might testify in the trail who said Owens talked about the crimes to them in jail.
A replacement attorney is up to speed on the case and can replace the co-counsel, but he is scheduled to be in court on a different matter April 27, which is creating scheduling problems for the defense.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit Chief Assistant District Attorney John Johnson said prosecutors will be ready for whatever date Harrison selects.
Harrison said he’s juggling scheduling for a number of major cases across the circuit’s five counties. He said the best he can do this year is move a Camden murder trial and schedule Owens court date for May 4. That will allow for the two weeks of evidence both sides intend to present.
Owens’ attorney said he would have to check with the availability of his expert witnesses to make sure which date is best.
On another matter, the defense contends the indictment of Owens doesn’t hold up because it considers him the principal actor in the crimes and being a party to the crimes.
Owens is the only person charged, and the defense argues it’s a logical impossibility for him to be in two places at the same time.
The prosecution maintains that being a principal to a crime also makes one by definition a party to it.
Harrison said he would consider the arguments, along with arguments about the admissibility of Facebook messages in which Owens allegedly admits to the crimes. The firearm in a photo of Owens posted to Facebook is not the gun allegedly used in the Holliman homicides.
A final motions hearing is scheduled for March 12.